Almost Brown

Almost Brown


Beautifully written… this book hit me in all sorts of funny-tender spots. A truly moving and insightful book. – Kyo Maclear

An award-winning writer retraces her unconventional, biracial, globe-trotting family’s journey as she reckons with ethnicity and belonging, diversity and race, and the complexities of life within a multicultural household.

Charlotte Gill’s father is Indian. Her mother is English. They meet in 1960s London when the world is not quite ready for interracial love. Their union results in a total meltdown of familial relations, a lot of immigration paperwork, and three children, all in varying shades of tan. Together they set off on a journey to Canada and the United States in an elusive pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness – a dream that eventually tears them apart.

Almost Brown is an exploration of diasporic intermingling involving two deeply eccentric parents from worlds apart and their half-brown children as they experience the paradoxes and conundrums of life as it’s lived between race checkboxes. Their intercultural experiment features turbans and tube socks, chana masala and Cherry Coke, feminist uprisings, racial alliances and divides, a divorce, multiple grudges, and plenty of bad fashion. The family implodes, but after 20 years of silence, father and daughter reclaim a space for forgiveness and love.

Almost Brown is a funny, turbulent, and ultimately heartwarming book about the brilliant messiness of a mixed-race family and a search for answers to the question, What are you? Tender and incisive, it is both a deeply personal memoir and an excavation into ethnicity, ancestry, and race – a historical concept that still informs our beliefs about identity today.


Shelf Life Books| Calgary Public Library | Audible


  • Charlotte Gill is from two worlds in her memoir Almost Brown – Shondaland
  • Charlotte Gill creates a masterpiece with memoir on what it’s like to be biracial in Canada – Toronto Star
  • Ending a 20-year rift with my Indian father helped me make sense of my biracial identity – Charlotte Gill, The Guardian
  • Biracial family journey at the centre of new memoir from Charlotte Gill – The Vancouver Sun
  • My parents’ mixed-race marriage radically shaped my family tree. This generation is helping me embrace it. – Charlotte Gill, The Globe & Mail
  • ‘I Tried Hard to Think of Myself as Normal and Regular.’ – Charlotte Gill, The Tyee