Patsy’s Choice
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Published in: January-February 2020 issue.


Patsy:  A Novel
by Nicole Dennis-Benn
Liveright. 425 pages, $26.95


WHEN we first encounter the title character of Nicole Dennis-Benn’s intergenerational family saga, Patsy, she’s standing in line outside the U.S. embassy in Jamaica, dreaming of America. The year is 1998. The Reggae Boyz are playing in the World Cup in France. Patsy is 28 years old, and her daughter Tru is five. As the reader soon learns, America means more to Patsy than job opportunities and a chance to send money home. It’s a place where she can begin anew, reconnect with her childhood love Cecily, and (most importantly) shed the identity of “mother.” She leaves Tru with the latter’s father Roy and his family. From there, she flies to America, envisioning a future for herself in which she settles down with Cecily and embraces her queer identity.

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Ruth Joffre is the author of the story collection Night Beast. She teaches at Hugo House in Seattle.


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