Episode 35: The Other Black Girl by Zakiya Dalila Harris

Zakiya Dalila Harris (Nicole Mondestin)

“Twenty-six-year-old editorial assistant Nella Rogers is tired of being the only Black employee at Wagner Books. Fed up with the isolation and microaggressions, she’s thrilled when Harlem-born and bred Hazel starts working in the cubicle beside hers. They’ve only just started comparing natural hair care regimens, though, when a string of uncomfortable events elevates Hazel to Office Darling, and Nella is left in the dust.

Then the notes begin to appear on Nella’s desk: LEAVE WAGNER. NOW.

It’s hard to believe Hazel is behind these hostile messages. But as Nella starts to spiral and obsess over the sinister forces at play, she soon realizes that there’s a lot more at stake than just her career.

A whip-smart and dynamic thriller and sly social commentary that is perfect for anyone who has ever felt manipulated, threatened, or overlooked in the workplace, The Other Black Girl will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very last twist.”

Summary from Simon and Schuster

In this episode the Spoilers engage in a crescendoing conversation about Harris’ NYT best selling debut novel. Uneasy with their reading of the book, anxious about their commentary, and unsure if they are on steady ground, the Spoilers carefully inch forward, refusing any relaxing balm, eventually careening toward inevitable exasperation. You’re going to love this sometimes quiet, sometimes rollicking examination of a definitely provocative but sometimes maddening novel. What’s our final verdict? We plead the fifth! 

Mentioned in the Show

  • Angie Thomas, The Hate You Give
  • The book Todd was trying to remember to make a comparison but couldn’t — Ishmael Reed, Mumbo Jumbo
  • Crystal MotenContinually Working: Black Women, Community Intellectualism and Economic Justice in Postwar Milwaukee (forthcoming from Vanderbilt University Press)
  • Barbera Neely, Blanche on the Lam
  • Ijeoma Oluo’s Behind the Book Substack: “There are So Many Ways to Die”

What We're Watching, Reading and What's Making Us Happy 🙂

  • Crystal — Inventing Anna (Netflix)
  • Todd — Imani Perry, South To America: A Journey Below the Mason-Dixon Line to Understand the South of a Nation Jeen-Yuhs (Netflix)
  • Anita — Elif Shafak, The Island of Missing Trees: A Novel

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