Picture of author.

Charmaine Wilkerson

Autor(a) de Black Cake

3 Works 1,359 Membros 70 Críticas

About the Author

Image credit: from author's webpage

Obras por Charmaine Wilkerson

Black Cake (2022) 1,350 exemplares
Dolce nero (2022) 1 exemplar


Conhecimento Comum

País (no mapa)
Local de nascimento
New York, USA
Barnard College
Stanford University



This is a really intriguing story.. I was hooked very easily. I loved the multiple POVs.

Am I the only one who thinks that maybe the black cake means more than what it is? Anyway I don’t know what it could be but I really want me some black cake. The actual one!
Donnela | 68 outras críticas | Apr 30, 2024 |
Although the story was thought provoking. The writing was more of "tell" rather than "show". It therefore included mostly stream of consciousness rather than action or dialog.

Also, it felt preachy at times...as it included so many social issues.(including but not limited to racial prejudice, familial estrangement, sexual and racial identity, class struggle, immigrant prejudices, gambling addiction, grief, adoption, murder, colonialism, friendship, domestic abuse, as well food diaspora!) Some were pertinent to the plot while others were not.
This took away from the essential themes: the effects of secrets on families, estrangement, forgiveness.
… (mais)
Chrissylou62 | 68 outras críticas | Apr 11, 2024 |
This is a multigenerational dual timeline story set in present day California and a Caribbean island in the 1960s. The author herself grew up in Jamaica and her parents were born there and this is presumably the context the book is based on, but this is never explicitly stated.

The story begins with estranged siblings Benny and Byron coming together for the reading of their mother Eleanor’s will. They discover she has left them a traditional black cake and an 8 hour audio recording about her life.

The story then takes us back to the 1960s when a young Coventina Lyncook (Covey) is growing up on a Caribbean island with her Chinese father, mourning the loss of her islander mother, who left when his drinking and gambling became too much. Covey throws her energy into ocean swimming and her secret romance with Gibbs. She feels happy despite the challenges, until her father decides to improve his fortunes by marrying her off to a powerful, older man. When a death on the island leaves Covey under suspicion of murder, her world comes crashing down around her.

What follows is a story about secrets, relationships, and the connections created by cooking. The sweetness of the black cake recipe from the islands permeates the book, and creates an atmosphere of its own.

For me personally I found a few things irritating. Firstly as I am currently doing a read around the world challenge, I find it annoying that the author cannot even name the island Covey and Gibb came from, rather it is glossed over in an amorphous stroke as the Caribbean. Maybe this is meant to convey the impression that many islands in the Caribbean suffered a similar colonial history, but by not giving the island its own distinct history and culture this feels like another broad stroke of colonialism, putting different people groups together in one amorphous category without any effort to see their uniqueness.

My other problem was with Byron. I found him to be just a walking issue advertisement with no personality or function in the story other than as a billboard for any subject the author wanted to address. There is also that tendency of debut authors to need to cover all the issues in one book. If you cut Byron out of the story it actually would make very little narrative difference, and in fact Bunny the swimmer was a more appealing vehicle to bring attention to the state of our oceans. His sister Bunny at least has some personality and has an important role in the book with her story of rejection and heartache, even though she often comes across as immature, petulant and selfish.

Overall I enjoyed this book, in particular for its island setting, smell of cooking and unraveling of secrets. 3.5 stars for me.
… (mais)
mimbza | 68 outras críticas | Apr 8, 2024 |
A superbly written book.

Black Cake is the center of this book that revolves around Covey, a young girl turned runaway bride from a Caribbean island. She is forced to marry ‘Little Man,’ a gangaster-type after her father runs up debt with no other way to pay. Through a twist of circumstances, Little Man dies at the reception and Covey flees and ends up in the UK under a new last name. Another tragedy strikes when Covey and her friend, Ellie are in a train crash and Covey again, takes on a new identity.

The story switches from Covey’s backstory to Covey’s current life which includes her children. Upon Covey’s death, her children will learn their entire life has been built on lies - but are all lies bad?

Because the writing was excellent it helped me work through the weeds when the narrative got a little drawn out, causing the pacing to slow a bit. That being said, there wasn’t a time when I wished I weren’t reading this book with its beautifully, descriptive prose.

I will look for another one of Charmaine Wilkerson’s works in time as this was her extremely successful debut.
… (mais)
LyndaWolters1 | 68 outras críticas | Apr 3, 2024 |



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