November 29, 2021 8:15 AM EST

In her debut novel, The Other Black Girl, Zakiya Dalila Harris spins searing commentary on the publishing industry through the eyes of a 26-year-old editorial assistant named Nella Rogers. Nella is the sole Black employee at the fictional Wagner Books—until Hazel-May McCall arrives and quickly rises in the ranks as an office favorite. Initially excited by Hazel’s presence, Nella is unnerved when notes start appearing on her desk demanding that she leave the company. Could Hazel have something to do with this? The novel transforms into something akin to a thriller, and while its twisty narrative might prove over-ambitious, Harris pokes at her subject like no author has done before. In blunt and darkly funny terms, she underlines the unsettling inner-workings of a very white industry and the daily microaggressions Nella endures while navigating it.

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