The Names That Survived by Mackenzie Littledale is a quick but emotional journey. It follows Mary, an American whose family immigrated from Trinidad. Fulfilling her grandmother’s deathbed wish, she travels to Trinidad to explore her heritage. There she finds family, love, and a new appreciation for her roots.
Littledale is eloquent and moves the plot rapidly without skimping on the visual details. Mary’s character feels real and relatable from word one. Her dialogue reads smoothly and with an effortless sense of place.
That said, there were parts of the plot that moved so quickly the nuances felt lost. Mary’s mother, for instance, comes off as one dimensional and brainwashed by mainstream white American culture. So much more could have been explored with the love interest’s backstory, as well as Mary’s decision to return to the States.
Overall I enjoyed this read. The issues of race, heritage, family, and belonging were relatable and clear. The prose was well written and edited. I will be looking for the next piece Littledale publishes. With ideas this big, I hope it’s a novel!