No success for women, only a temporary aversion of failure…
September 25th 2021
Sometimes in life, you meet someone with such incredible perspicacity, you wonder if you’ve ever been awake. Natasha Brown, author of Assembly is one such woman. When she speaks, such truths tumble out that the only thing to do is sit back in awe.
I had the total joy of speaking with Natasha this week for the very first edition of our BookClub interviews. Other than being a delightful human, she was brilliant to talk to about her book because it gave her room to expand on some of the on-point insights she makes in the book about love, life and Britain today.
We chatted about how she builds characters, why it’s useful to create a foil to a character in order to better shine a light on them, what the different between money and wealth is and why citizenship doesn’t always mean the same thing to all people… and of course - as the title of this blog suggests - about what success means to men and women and whether the latter ever feel an expectation of it like some men do. So many things and so much more we could have talked about.
You can catch up with the interview on our Instagram now. And if you’re not yet convinced, here’s a cheeky extract from the book to warm you up.
You have to stop this, she said.
Stop what, he said, we’re not doing anything. She wanted to correct him. There was no we. There was he the subject and her the object, but he just told her look, there’s no point getting worked up over nothing.
She often sat in the end cubicle of the ladies’ room and stared at the door. She’d sit for an entire lunch break, sometimes, waiting either to shit or to cry or to muster enough resolve to go back to her desk.
He could see her at her desk from his office and regularly dialled her extension to comment on what he saw (and what he made of it): her hair (wild), her skin (exotic), her blouse (barely containing those breasts).
Over the phone, he instructed her to do little things. This humiliated her more than the bigger things that eventually followed. Still, she held her stapler up high as directed. Drank her entire glass of water in one go. Spat out her chewing gum into her hand.
She had gone to lunch with her colleagues. They were six men of varying ages, sizes and temperaments. They ordered four plates of the beef nigiri and, during the meal, occasionally referenced her situation via vague innuendo and accusatory observations.
One of the older ones, fat with a thick greying beard around his thin pink lips, put down his fork to talk straight. He began slowly: He knows she’s not one to take advantage of it. He knows that, he knows. There, he paused for effect and to savour the thrill of telling the girl how things were. But – but now, she must admit, she had an advantage over him and the others at the table. She could admit that, couldn’t she.
He smiled wide, opened his arms wide and leaned back. The other five looked at her, some nodding. He picked up his fork again and shoved more raw meat into his mouth.
His office was glass on three sides. Rows of desks stretched out to the right and left, a spectators’ gallery. She had centre stage. He sat talking to her, quite animated.
He hoped she would show some maturity, he said, some appreciation. He was getting up from his chair, walking towards her, brushing against her though the office was large and he had plenty of space. She should think of the big picture and her future and what his word means around here. He said this as he opened the office door.
Sound good? Get your hands on a copy of Assembly today with a subscription to LoveMyRead.
Vicki & The LoveMyRead Team x