Book Club reader Margaret Fancy reviews Niyati Kent’s Esperanza Street
This is a recently published debut novel that drew me in from the first page.
It is a story of change, maturity and hope told through the eyes of 12-year-old Joseph.
It is set in and around the house on Esperanza Street where Joseph lives, at the home of Mary Morelos.
Joseph works as a houseboy; he cleans and polishes, waiting on Mary’s guests when she entertains.
He observes; he hears the conversations of people who come to the house and gives us his opinions. But he doesn’t always understand and often behaves naively.
It is a very engaging and supremely well-written book about a changing community.
Niyati Keni gives us many vivid pen-portraits of the people Joseph meets on a day-to-day basis in his humdrum world.
We learn why he is working at Mary Morelos’ house; we meet his friends and those he would like to be his friends.
His own quiet opinions help us to appreciate his growing wisdom and with great economy of words, the author is able to describe his pain so that we feel it ourselves.
By the end, we realise that Joseph has not only grown in years but in maturity and stature.
I look forward to reading another book by this author.