... timely and painfully observant ... an excellent evisceration of contemporary life, and Hamya homes in on how social media allows for groupthink ... offers scathing commentary on societal contradictions, including how easy it is to exist online, but how hard it is for so many women to claim their own views or root themselves in a physical space in real life. Without privacy and ample time for reflection, something that’s hard to come by without the right resources, it’s challenging to have a sense of self ... In dissenting, her narrator creates room for herself — if not, in the end, a room of her own.
... polemical in nature, a notoriously difficult form that indicates the scope of her ambition ... At times the novel’s concerns can feel forced into the narrative and the dialogue, resulting in a flatness that makes both Hamya’s fiction and its message less convincing than they would be otherwise ... But in its finer moments, Three Rooms made me think of the 1979 Japanese novel Territory of Light, by Yuko Tsushima, recently translated into English by Geraldine Harcourt. Also about women in the workplace, it too centers on the question of real estate, the rooms we have access to and the rooms we occupy. It’s a scathing critique of Japanese society, achieved through quiet and relentlessly exact observation, and Hamya’s novel is most successful when it operates in this same mode ... compresses the noise of contemporary life into a record of recent events: Grenfell Tower, Boris Johnson, Brexit. But personal and everyday occurrences take up equal space in the narrator’s consciousness, and are precisely and beautifully rendered ... invokes the reality of living in a world where a reasonable demand is resolutely categorized as unreasonable.
There is a refreshing honesty here both about a certain moral lassitude and the performance of its opposite. Indeed, Three Rooms is one of the most candid and subtle explorations of class by an English novelist in recent years. Hamya writes with a Cuskian pellucidity, but confronts capital and the precariat in a way Cusk never does, in its many smudgy, insidious forms. This is a novel about bumping against the walls of the life you’ve be told to build and finding the doors locked.