The Year in Books: The 15 Best Books of 2016


Here Comes the Sun, Nicole Dennis-Benn

Dennis-Benn was our first Sweetest Debut entrant; her book jolted me back to alertness and life as I returned to work from leave. A searing, heartfelt look at a damaged family of three women in Jamaica, Benn’s Here Comes the Sun takes on the sex trade, skin-lightening and internalized racism, sexual and physical abuse, and homophobia, all under the shadow of the exploitation of tourism and colonialism. And yet this novel never feels polemical; it’s personal and alive with the energy of its characters. What turns it from a good read into a tour fe dorce is the ending, whose imagery has stayed with me; it’s a kind of triumphant tragedy you don’t see coming at all.