Three Rooms

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Pub Date 8 Jul 2021 | Archive Date 7 Aug 2021

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Description

From a major new voice in fiction, an incisive and poignant debut about politics, race and belonging in 21st-century England

It's autumn 2018 and a young woman moves into a rented room in university accommodation, ready to begin a job as a research assistant at Oxford. Here, living and working in the spaces that have birthed the country's leaders, she is both outsider and insider, and she can't shake the feeling that real life is happening elsewhere.

Eight months later she finds herself in London. She's landed a temp contract at a society magazine and is paying £80 a week to sleep on a stranger's sofa. Summer rolls on and England roils with questions around its domestic civil rights: Brexit, Grenfell, climate change, homelessness. Meanwhile, tensions with her flatmate escalate, she is overworked and underpaid, and the prospects of a permanent job seem increasingly unlikely, until finally she has to ask herself: what is this all for?


Incisive, original and brilliantly observed, Three Rooms is the story of a search for a home and for a self. Driven by despair and optimism in equal measure, the novel poignantly explores politics, race and belonging, as Jo Hamya asks us to consider the true cost of living as a young person in 21st-century England.

About the author

Jo Hamya was born in London in 1997. She has worked as a copyeditor at Tatler and as a bookseller at Waterstones. Her journalism has been published in the Financial Times. Three Rooms is her first novel.

From a major new voice in fiction, an incisive and poignant debut about politics, race and belonging in 21st-century England

It's autumn 2018 and a young woman moves into a rented room in university...


Advance Praise

'Jo Hamya is an exceptionally gifted writer. Her portrait of a bright young woman struggling to get a foothold in an indifferent world is acute, informed, and deeply felt. Three Rooms slowly but surely broke my heart.' - Claire-Louise Bennett

'I was bowled over by this barbed, supple book about precarity and power, both for its spiky, unsettling intelligence and the frank beauty of the writing' - Olivia Laing

'Three Rooms is brilliant, and brilliant in new ways. Jo Hamya's writing is full of unexpected angles and original, vivid approaches; it's intelligent, melancholy, funny and subtle.' - Chris Power

'Jo Hamya is an exceptionally gifted writer. Her portrait of a bright young woman struggling to get a foothold in an indifferent world is acute, informed, and deeply felt. Three Rooms slowly but...


Marketing Plan

What if you can't afford a room of your own? 

An incisive, original debut about the true cost of living as a young person in 21st century England. 

What if you can't afford a room of your own? 

An incisive, original debut about the true cost of living as a young person in 21st century England. 


Available Editions

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ISBN 9781787333314
PRICE £12.99 (GBP)

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Featured Reviews

Genre: Literary Fiction Release Date: Expected 8th July 2021 Eight months ago, a young woman began her life - moving into her renting university living space and ready to start her new job as a research assistant at Oxford. All around her, she can feel the energy from the previous residents who became leaders and pioneers - and it almost doesn't feel like real life at all. But now everything is different - she's sleeping on a strangers sofa in London, temping at a magazine and things don't appear to be getting better. She's no closer to a stable job or home, she's overworked and underpaid, and the world around her is falling apart - Brexit is dividing the nation, Grenfell tower burned, the city is rife with homelessness and despair and the climate is changing beyond repair. And as every day passes by, she begins to question what this is all really for. Our nameless, faceless narrator was cold and detatched - an almost clinic approach to storytelling that made me feel like an observer to a social experiment rather than a reader. Three Rooms had a strange monotony and boredom throughout - the kind that makes your stomach ache and it felt uncomfortably familiar. The entire book read like a stream of thoughts, but with very long strings of text with no pauses for air or punctuation which at times was not enjoyable but didn't detract too much. Hamya has captured the despair and nihilism of young people who feel like their futures are devoid of hope - even our nameless narrator may seem on the surface like she's fine, working for a society magazine and living in the capital city - but even her life is barely held together and being pulled apart by the world we are living in. Three Rooms was a darkly uncomfortable truth about the complexities of class, race, politics and the thousands of things that make our identity. RATING: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Thank you to Jo Hamya, Random House UK and NetGalley for this ARC in return for an honest review.

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Three Rooms by Jo Hamya is about a young woman who doesn't quite know what she's doing with her life and is struggling with disillusionment about her career and her ambitions for home ownership. Insightful and engaging.

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Three Rooms is a novel about a young woman looking for stability in 21st century life as she drifts through a transitory year. In autumn 2018 an unnamed narrator moves into a rented room in a shared university house in Oxford, ready to take up a temporary research assistant position, but she spends most of her time scrolling Twitter and watching one of the only people she's met do things on Instagram. When the contract ends, she finds herself in London, living on someone's sofa and doing another temporary job at a society magazine. Once again, she feels disconnected, and as politics rolls on in the background, she considers what she can do next. Told in the first person in a literary style with very few named characters, Three Rooms is the sort of book some people will love and others not get along with. I enjoyed it, with its clever look at privilege, class, and race, and the complications of these as the narrator takes up temporary jobs doing things from a rarified world, straddling the line between having no money and still having the ability to get a temp job at a posh magazine. I also liked the engagement with books, from the stuff about Walter Pater and Instagram to a glib commentary on modern novels which feels like it's pointing out this book could be classed as another of them. As it's set at a very specific time and has a lot of politics and current events run through it, at times you do feel like there's a bit too much Brexit going on, but that is also important to the general look at the Oxford and London worlds that provide the backdrop for a lot of the people ruling those decisions. As a fleeting first person novel, there aren't really answers to the issues raised, but more a look at a version of millennial existence. I have lived in both the locations in the novel in vaguely similar circumstances, which made me drawn into the character and narrative perhaps more than I might've been, and there are a lot of little details that bring these locations and the protagonist's existence to life. Three Rooms presents a clash not only between sides in political issues, but also between ways in which someone can be privileged and not, and between real life and the internet.

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