The epigraph to Jo Hamya’s debut novel (from A Room of One’s Own) announces its key theme: the relationship of women’s creativity and feminism to economic marginalisation. Three Rooms follows an unnamed narrator, who works first as a research assistant in Oxford and then in London as a copy editor for a society magazine, over the course of a year. As a woman of colour attempting to live independently from her parents, she experiences the tensions of being simultaneously within and without these established institutions, unlike the cocksure students and Sloaney interns she encounters. This is principally an exercise in voice, the enigmatic but cerebral narration reminiscent of Lauren Oyler’s ruminations on social media and the millennial condition in her recent novel Fake Accounts.
The novel is gracefully written and there are flashes of brilliance, particularly when it comes to the difficulty of making a home in the titular rooms the narrator rents and the unspoken schisms in modern feminism along class and generational lines. However, it is hampered by insistent references to its