“This time especially, she was absolutely right, down to the last word. It was still only beginning.”
These words end Qarnita Loxton’s sophomore novel Being Lily. We first encountered Lily in Qarnita’s debut novel Being Kari, which was longlisted for the 2018 9mobile Prize for Literature and shortlisted for the 2018 Herman Charles Bosman Prize. The second book is a sequel to the first book. This book focuses on the life of Lily. Dr. Lily De Angelo is a successful doctor who is going to get married to her fiancé, Owen. The novel invites us into Lily life which has many dimensions. In the book, we get to see Lily and the relationship she shares with her parents, one filled with many dynamics of love, care, and sometimes hatred and resentment. Lily’s life is also drastically changed with Owen’s gorgeous ex finds herself in the picture, with the ex comes the possibility of fatherhood. The ex and the child move in with Lily and Owen and this living dynamic soon causes havoc in the home and their relationship. The addition of Owen’s ex introduces us to Lily’s closest friends including Kari, who comes back to celebrate her friend.
In this episode of the podcast, we spoke to Quarnita about her legal career and when and how her writing career began. We spoke about some of the underlying themes that animate form the book around relationships, family, womanhood, and friendships. We also spoke about the white story and how Black writers can authentically write about white people, but white people cannot do that for Black people.
This novel touches on important topics in a light heart, fun manner. In certain moments you will be frustrated with Lily and her attitude, but in other moments you will empathises with her and her friends. The characters felt familiar like those you could be having coffee with in your everyday life. It’s a story with equal amounts of humour and depth, exploring what it means to live, love and commit in changing times.