This is a brilliantly enlightening book that uses the keyhole of people's names to let us see into the lives and histories of people in multicultural Britain. It ranges across continents and epochs, at times moving, at others ironic, full of insights and detail.
A kaleidoscopic portrait of the UK . . . Banerjee describes her friends' backgrounds and experiences with insight and compassion
Explores the complex stories of colonialism, persecution, faith, assimilation and hope . . . It will resonate with anyone who feels their name marks them out . . . Banerjee paints a heartbreakingly tender portrait of her father's journey
A brilliant book where she examines how her name can tell us so much about her family and their story. And she looks at some of her friends' names too . . . fascinating stories weaving in and around the subject of names
An absolutely fascinating deep dive into Sheela's own Bengali name and the names of several of her close friends, uncovering migration stories from Tsarist Russia, India, Cyprus, Sri Lanka, the Middle East and Jamaica and the shocking racism of growing up in '70s and '80s Britain. It's compelling reading, painting a picture of multicultural Britain today that is both familiar and eye-opening. It makes you think of your own name and its impact, and reflect on those of your friends. Excellent, highly readable and absorbing, the stories woven into this superb book will stay with me for a long time. I cannot recommend What's In a Name? highly enough.'
Sheela Banerjee mixes indignation with curiosity. She goes through the "keyhole" of her friends' names to unpeel complex stories of identity. The book defies monochrome pictures of how we define ourselves, how we live, how we mix.
Banerjee deftly weaves intricate tapestries out of the seemingly simple threads of our names. What's In A Name? is a compelling combination of personal stories and social histories, told with great heart, wit and detail. It's simultaneously heartbreaking, life-affirming and delightfully surprising. And for anyone who has ever been bullied because of their name, had their name mispronounced, or asked where their name comes from, Banerjee shows that there is a world of belonging and love in our names, if we just know where to look.