Press & Reviews

I hope the gods don’t strike me down for collecting all the lovely things people have said.  In any case, these people liked my books. Maybe you will too.


Harmless Like You

Won the 2017 Best First Novel Award from the Authors’ Club.

Received a Betty Trask Award.

Shortlisted for the Desmond Elliot Prize.

Shortlisted for the Books Are My Bag Reader’s Awards in the Breakthrough author’s category.

Long listed for Aspen Words Literary Prize

Long listed for The Jhalak Prize.

Starling Days

Shortlisted for the Costa Novel Award.


Starling Days

Starling Days is an exquisite rendering of love, sadness, and misunderstanding.” —Spencer Quong in the Paris Review.

“Unravelling the truth is one of the considerable pleasures of this beautifully written novel.” the Spectator

“a must for anyone who’s struggled with depression or loves someone who does.” Stylist

“It’s a true and absolute fictional expression of a very un-fictional affliction, and it is a vital, comforting, exhausting, thrilling piece of storytelling.” Books and Bao

“Buchanan’s tender even-handedness gives their struggles pole-axing heft.” Anthony Cummings for the Daily Mail

Harmless Like You

Harmless Like You was a New York Times Editor’s Choice!

“Buchanan’s prose is visceral, startling and mind-bendingly gorgeous.”The Boston Globe

“Combines a wry, sardonic voice with an assured knack for comic set-pieces.” Times Literary Supplement 

“Each way of life we choose necessitates the rejection of many others. Hisayo Buchanan’s recognition of this fact propels her stylishly written debut into the exceptional.”  The Literary Review

“Equal parts haunting and wise, this novel dives deep into the complexities of art, identity, and family.”  Bustle, 14 Up And Coming Female Writers To Read This Year 

 “Buchanan has a knack for mining the murky depths of what it means to identify as an artist, parent and lover. The journey is sometimes tender, often agonizingand everything in between” Publishers Weekly

“A highly-nuanced, understated, and beautifully written debut.” Kirkus

“This elegant and moving novel burns slowly, building in intensity as it develops to explore the subjects of identity, alienation and desire.” The Daily Mail

“This is a dark novel, it is also as rich and vivid as the chapter headings’ descriptions of paint colours.” The Express

“The kind of novel our century deserves—a brilliantly conceived, beautifully written transnational novel about multiracial identity, motherhood, the struggle to be an artist, and the struggle to belong to your family. This marks the debut of an important new voice in fiction.”

Alexander Chee, author of The Queen of the Night

“Harmless is a relentlessly honest book, capturing some of the ugliest and under-represented facets of life, in rich, elegant prose.” Irish Independent

“It is the sensuousness of Buchanan’s writing, however, that grabs the attention.” South China Morning Post

“Not since Sigrid Nunez’s A Feather on the Breath of God has a book shone such a moving light on multiracial, interracial, and transnational relationships. Regardless of your flesh tone, Rowan Hisayo Buchanan’s study of colorits history, its strangeness, its allure, and its consequenceswill dazzle you.” Jennifer Tseng, author of Mayumi and the Sea of Happiness

Harmless Like You was chosen for The Millions Most Anticipated (February)

“It’s pretty rare that a book takes my breath away. But I guarantee Rowan Hisayo Buchanan’s beautiful debut, Harmless Like You, will do just that…Buchanan nails decades-long loneliness in a way that will leave your heart hurting.” The Pool

“It’s the subtle brilliance of Buchanan’s back-to-front tale that really left me reeling.” Stylist Magazine, print edition

“This beautiful novel explores creativity and the complicated relationships between parents and children.” Psychologies, print edition

Harmless Like You even made it onto a Buzzfeed list.