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That Reminds Me

3.90  ·  Rating details ·  1,165 ratings  ·  183 reviews
This is the story of K.

K is sent into care before a year marks his birth. He grows up in fields and woods, and he is happy, he thinks. When K is eleven, the city reclaims him. He returns to an unknown mother and a part-time father, trading the fields for flats and a community that is alien to him. Slowly, he finds friends. Eventually, he finds love. He learns how to naviga
Hardcover, 128 pages
Published November 14th 2019 by Merky Books
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Popular Answered Questions
Reij Rosello Very difficult.
How about thinking of each page as a prose poem and reading them out loud very slowly?
And the "difficulty" we experience as readers mig…more
Very difficult.
How about thinking of each page as a prose poem and reading them out loud very slowly?
And the "difficulty" we experience as readers might mirror how exhausting life is when you have to carve your story like diamond cutters extract a stone from raw material.

Community Reviews

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Average rating 3.90  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,165 ratings  ·  183 reviews

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Nov 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
That Reminds Me is raw, unflinching, poetic, and unlike anything I’ve read before. A very quick read, I opened this up just to get a sense of it, and found myself racing through to the end in one sitting.

A young British-Ghanaian man, K, relates the events of his life to Anansi, the African god of stories. The story begins with K being sent into foster care as a baby, later returning to his family in the city, struggling to fit in at school, growing up and finding out who he is. K’s cultural
Gumble's Yard - Golden Reviewer
Jan 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020
Now winner of the 2020 Desmond Elliott Prize for debut fiction - and for me the real find of 2020: almost the first book I read of the year.

I don’t wear my scars, they wear me; wear me down, wear me out, coerce me into increasing their number until they’ve won the war. Sometimes, I think I may just let them.

I wanted to live again. As they gathered, I felt the pressure of each tear awake to its own trickling sand weighing down the dirt on my grave.

A simultaneously searing and experimental d
Emily B
Jan 05, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was an impactful and brave read, particularly the parts about mental health which really stood out to me. I loved the honest and raw storytelling and will be looking out for more of his work.
Jan 27, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: uk, 2020-read
Now Winner of the Desmond Elliott Prize 2020
This novella is all about its lyrically shattered, poetic language: If Derek Owusu had decided to choose another typographical presentation of his sentences, this would easily pass as a collection of prose poems. Our protagonist is simply called K, reminiscent of Franz Kafka's parable-style naming technique - in The Trial, the main character is famously named Josef K., and "That Reminds Me" does share some themes with Kafka's text, e.g. helplessness, f
Katia N
Jul 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The pieces of this fragmentary novel are like shards of glass - sharp, transparent and uneven. A fragmentary structure seems to be the high fashion in the anglophone world. But for a debut, this stands out. I needed to read each piece at least twice to understand it. Quite often, he starts with prose and ends up with a verse. There is a rawness in his text and there is freedom. He does not try to impress, to imitate or to be liked. I hope he would grow from this one to something even bigger.

Jul 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2020, modern-lit
I wanted to read this book because it has attracted so much attention from other reviewers whose views I respect, many of whom have tipped it for a Booker nomination. It is a powerful and personal book, a series of poetic snapshots which tell a disjointed story of a young man's life and his struggles with being separated from his mother and mental illness leading to self harm.

It is short (not least because of the amount of white space) but intense - I found the text a little hard to follow at t
Paul Fulcher
Jan 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020
Now deservedly winner of the 2020 Desmond Elliott Prize, for the most outstanding first novels of the past 12 months

Lose a memory and you’ve lost a life – so hands stretch into the darkness to bring our living thoughts to the light. Shaking the limbic like a Polaroid until the image is clear, I stare at the face I think I remember, confused as to why you’re not here. If I forgive your absence, then you have to forgive mine, forgive me for not showing up and for struggling to keep you alive. And
Jan 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
It isn’t often (in fact, it may never have happened before) that the first thing I do on finishing a book is turn back to page 1 and read it again.

That said, this is not an easy book to read. Firstly, there is the subject matter which is dark. I would be careful about who I recommended this book to because especially the second half contains a lot of discussion of alcoholism, self-harm and even suicide. The self-harm sections are especially difficult to read.

Secondly, the structure of the nove
Roman Clodia
Dec 28, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
Dazzling technique makes this book stunning on the style level as Owusu weaves between poetry and prose, using assonance, rhythm, cadence and rhyme with a masterful ease that feels natural and inevitable at the same time as it oozes a kind of spontaneity and authenticity.

It's extremely hard to pull off this kind of poetic prose and I've personally found it try-hard and often meaningless when used by Daisy Johnson, Jessica Andrews, Emma Glass amongst others - which makes it all the more impressi
Jul 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is really beautiful stuff. Beautiful, but painful. There are already some excellent and detailed reviews on here, and I am sure many more will come as word spreads, so not much more from me other than to say this comes highly recommended. An important work, and one you all should read.
Lou (nonfiction fiend)
Nov 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
That Reminds Me is critically acclaimed poet Derek Owasu's debut novel in verse and boy is it incredibly hard-hitting, powerful and thought-provoking. It is by no means a comfortable read as it explores many of today's prevalent topics with unflinching honesty and gutsiness I am so glad I encountered; Owusu is a raw and real talent and the type that emerges merely once in a blue moon. It tells the story of K, a young, British-Ghanaian as he relays his life experiences from birth through to adult ...more
Marcus Hobson
Apr 06, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What I liked most about this book was the intensity. The short paragraphs of scene and action. Few sections longer than a page, most shorter, drawing you into a scene, a place, a personality, and holding you there until you start to feel what the characters feel.
It is an uncomfortable, troubled journey. Painful and poetic at the same time. Race and loneliness. The discomfort of the outsider. This is the story of K, a British-Ghanaian boy surrounded by difficulties to overcome, and not succeeding
Eric Anderson
Jun 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
Many debut novels take the form of coming-of-age tales, but Derek Owusu uses a beautifully unique style to tell a story that is wholly his own. “That Reminds Me” is a novel about K, a boy whose youth is spent between his mother and adoptive parents. He's physically and mentally abused. Money is tight but no one likes to admit this: “nobody left our home without a story of relative poverty to relay – the truth is, we were all black working class, but pretending we couldn't relate.” He is harassed ...more
Jun 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Derek Owusu’s That Reminds Me is almost the shadow of it’s own story, running alongside the narrative, trying to explain what it can divine of itself as a fully fleshed Black child growing up in an abusive white foster home where he is forced to build bonds and left with nowhere else to give his love, who eventually returns home to his own family, and grows into all of the pain and attachment issues that shape his identity and his mental health. The most beautiful thing about this story is the i ...more
Areeb Ahmad (Bankrupt_Bookworm)
One of the best books I have read this year so far. The hype was definitely not unwarranted. Cannot wait to read more of Owusu. RTC.
Tom Mooney
Nov 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book is a masterpiece, a brilliant and lyrical work of art.

With the rhythm and flow of poetry, or song, Owusu builds the life of K, a black boy sent into care with a family in the countryside, before returning to his family in the city aged 11. These are the fragile foundations for a life and a mind that will unravel in the most horrible and distressing of ways as he grows into a man.

The writing is beautiful and the structure - a series of fragments, as much poems as they are prose - elevat
John Banks
Nov 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Derek Owusu's That Reminds me is superb. Crafted with a poetic deftness and intensity that's deeply moving. I'm surprised this one didn't make it to The Goldsmiths prize list this year. It's certainly among my favourite reads of the year.

What immediately struck me, even a few pages in, is the share magnificence of poetic language and imagery. Written in short fragments that carry in a liminal way the experiences, feelings, perspectives, memories of the central voice, "K", a child and young man f
I do love a good mental workout, but felt the author kept me at an arm’s length.
Chris Haak
Oct 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
A raw and bleak Bildungsroman about identity, belonging and family. Original, poetic and deeply moving.
Mary Adeson
Oct 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: short-stories, poetry
Owusu’s writing is honest and emotive. There were instances where I had to pause from reading as I was overwhelmed by K’s sadness, I felt his scars.
Matthew Holley
Feb 29, 2020 rated it liked it
I couldn’t really catch all of the context of what was going on here, but I appreciate the difficult themes and the poetic language.
Jan 13, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2021
A novel in verse about the life of a young boy and a touch life beginning in childhood coupled with the realities he faces in that environment. The audio of this was breathtaking.

This is a hard hitting book that doesn’t shy away from tough topics. Trigger warnings are in the synopsis on good reads!!!!

I don’t want to ruin the plot of this book by discussing it because it’s so short any outlining would be a spoiler. So just hold tight and dive in. It’ll shake you up.
Shawn Mooney (Shawn The Book Maniac)
A dozen pages in, put off, I put it down. The language was estranging and uninteresting.
Bookish Bethany
Apr 11, 2021 rated it liked it
Lyrical prose poems stitched into a narrative of loss, depression, finding home, losing home and overcoming - important and pressing themes of identity and race. I often found the stream-of-consciousness, disordered style frustrating - it was like I was taking a class in creative writing and listening to someone read out their first piece in a workshop. It has real promise, excellent handling of subject matter, something missing / not my taste (?). Perhaps 3 stars is too harsh for something trai ...more
Fern Adams
Jan 13, 2022 rated it really liked it
This is a fantastic, albeit not always easy to read, book. K’s life is told in fragments of memories from childhood spent in foster care, to teenage years and then into adulthood. The writing is very poetic and creates very vivid pictures and a sense of the situation in the readers imagination. One that will stay with me.
Diane Law
Jul 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
A series of memories.
Honest and moving.

A different style of book and a quick read that gets you thinking.
Khai Jian (KJ)
Oct 29, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"I don’t wear my scars, they wear me; wear me down, wear me out, coerce me into increasing their number until they’ve won the war. Sometimes, I think I may just let them."

That Reminds Me tells the story of K, a young British-Ghanian man, who was fostered by a white family when he was a baby and then returned to his mother in London when he turned 7. He was physically and mentally abused during the 7 years of foster care. Such abuse arose from the difference of race, religion, and culture between
Beth Chats Books
Jul 07, 2020 rated it liked it
3.5. A short sorrowful book that packs an emotional gut punch. A novel that straddles the line between poetry and prose. Short, sharp and powerful.
Mar 17, 2022 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It looks like I’ve had a good novella filled week. This time it’s Derek Owusu’s debut book, That Reminds Me. Once again, as many of the books I read this week, TRM challenges what fiction actually is.

The story is told in page long fragments: The main protagonist, K, is abandoned by his mother in order to live in a foster family, only to return to his mother again. In the process, he goes through all the trials of growing up: love, drugs and later on, in order to reflect the fragmented style of t
Joanna Pearl
Oct 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Owusu writes the story of K, a life story that reads with the cadence and beauty of poetry but also rubs and jars with the joy and pain of living.
Told in what feels like a stream of consciousness, this chapters the highs of lows of K’s life, from his time in care and his mother’s illness to his first sexual relationships to his deteriorating mental health.
Although this is a short novel, it’s dense and lyrical and doesn’t make comfortable or easy reading.
K’s life and search for identity is har
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Derek Owusu is an award-winning writer and poet from North London. He discovered his passion for literature late in life while studying exercise science at university. Unable to afford a change of degree, he began reading voraciously and sneaking into English Literature lectures at the University of Manchester. He holds an MA in creative writing from Brunel University.

Owusu has written poetry and

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