Speaking of Summer
One night in December, Autumn Spencer's twin sister, Summer, walked to the roof of their shared apartment building and disappeared. Three months later, Summer's name is still not listed on New York's missing persons report, and Autumn is making no progress in finding out what happened to her sister that evening, despite increasingly panicked attempts to find answers. Was she kidnapped? Murdered? Did she jump? And if so, what happened to her body?
As Speaking of Summer unfolds, it morphs from the story of a missing person into something bigger and more deeply disturbing. Autumn's desperation to close the "gaping hole of not knowing" becomes an obsession, consuming her every waking moment even as her work, relationship, health and friendships begin to fray. She scours newspaper articles for stories of other missing women, of murdered women, absorbed by the "sad pile of tragedy" in the news and sinking further and further into a reality in which "I was not safe, no one cared about my Black female life, and unimaginable things happened to my sister."
Kalisha Buckhanon (Conception, Solemn) handles this shift so delicately that it is almost easy to forget that the story was ever about Summer, and not Autumn. Speaking of Summer is Autumn's story, Autumn's obsession and Autumn's keen desire to understand a world that dismisses the humanity of Black women, and the men who kill them, which takes center stage as Buckhanon's expertly paced novel builds to an unexpected conclusion. --Kerry McHugh, blogger at Entomology of a Bookworm