The narrator of Assembly is a black British woman. She is preparing to attend a lavish garden party at her boyfriend's family estate, set deep in the English countryside. At the same time, she is considering the carefully assembled pieces of herself. As the minutes tick down and the future beckons, she can't escape the question: is it time to take it all apart?
What it lacks in length — a slim 112 pages — it makes up for in strength. A scathing takedown of the British class system and the country’s views on race, immigration and gender politics, Assembly packs a wallop ... Though impactful, the skeleton story line of Assembly isn’t what makes the book so unshakable. It’s the way Brown expertly captures the narrator’s mental state through an internal dialogue that’s alternately plagued and disgusted by how others perceive her ... Assembly is a searing account of a woman trying to 'be invisible, imperceptible,' even in the face of what most would consider triumph. In truth, her thoughts — and actions — do just the opposite. They signify a rousing, inspired voice demanding to be recognized and heard.
Brilliantly sharp ... Slim but not slight, at 112 pages, it blows apart the flimsily constructed notion of a race-blind meritocracy ... The novel’s final third is exquisite ... Only one puzzle remains unsolved: how a novel so slight can bear such weight.
... fragmented, urgent chapters ... the reader must supply the precipitating question; thus, the reader becomes a kind of participant ... There is occasional levity, too, in Brown's work ... This is brilliant, carefully crafted, bittersweet storytelling, a tale of immense pressure, of a 'career' that must be performed both during and beyond work hours; the career of being the 'object,' an exhausting and endless task.