A Cupboard Full of Coats lets the reader into the mind of Jinx, a young woman haunted by the spectres of her early home life. It is a tale of anguish and guilt, rooted in the character’s experiences in adolescence, which results in antipathy and frustration in adult life.
After her mother’s violent murder, Jinx’s prolonged struggle beneath the weight of the blame puts her in danger of driving away the little family she has left. She seems incapable of breaking the chain of hurt that was forged many years before and risks shackling her infant son within the same painful confines which she inhabits.
An unexpected visit, from a man who played a prominent role in the most miserable period of her past, forces Jinx to explore the causes of her anger and self-loathing. Lemon, in spite of his faults and confessions of wretched jealousy, charms Edwards’ reader and heroine with his honeyed patois, culinary flair and silky swagger.
Edwards presents sharp nuances of human nature and idiosyncrasies of intimate relationships that will resonate with every reader. She has created complete, compelling characters and a narrative that grows ever more absorbing as it unfolds.
The author’s parents were born on Montserrat and she has visited the small Caribbean island which has enriched her writing. With strong, driven role models in her family and career experience in housing, care and benefits, Edwards has amassed a great deal of inspiration for literary characters throughout her life. She still lives in East London, having grown up and been to school in Hackney.
A Cupboard Full of Coats has the characteristic setting of a British novel, the essential scenes and reflections playing out within the same four walls of the lead character’s lifelong home.
Set in Hackney, the Rio cinema, the Pembury Estate and Hackney Downs Park appear like a blur through the window of an over-ground train. The geography and the cultural diversity of the borough play a supporting role to the scrutiny placed on Jinx and her search for salvation.
A Cupboard Full of Coats by Yvvette Edwards is published by Oneworld Publications.