Monthly Archives: September 2012

Review: ‘The Newlyweds’ by Nell Freudenberger

Standard

Nell Freudenberger was 28 when she was published at The New Yorker. Since then, her rise to the top (she made Granta’s ‘Best Young American Authors’ in 2008 and The New Yorker’s own ‘20 Under 40‘ list in 2010) has been inspiring and, to use the oft-abused metaphor, “meteoric”. (It’s late. I’ve been reading psychology texts all day. Metaphorically, I’m not very good this night.)

Anyway. I have not read her debut publication- a collection of short stories titled Lucky Girls but I DID get to read her utterly enchanting second novel, ‘The Newlyweds‘. I reviewed it for Hyphen Magazine.

‘The Newlyweds’ was inspired by a Bangladeshi woman that Freudenberger met on a plane to Rochester. The narrative follows a young Bangla woman named Amina who meets her American beau through on online dating service and consequently flies to Rochester to marry him. Expectedly, this cross cultural romance is about culture shock, love across borders and all that. But what I liked most about the book was that it was a pretty realistic portrayal of an immigrant woman’s experience in the U.S.A. I guess, I could say, that I identified with Amina’s story- especially her struggle with finding employment and the fact that it didn’t matter how educated she was, she still ended up with a minimum wage job at Starbucks.

Such is life.

Below is an excerpt of my review. Click here or on the picture to read the full review at Hyphen Magazine.

“On a surface level, Freudenberger is literally telling someone else’s story: that of Farah, a Bangla woman whom she met on a flight to Rochester, with whose consent and approval she developed the narrative. On a deeper level, Freudenberger places herself in an alien context. As a white, Jewish, American woman she is writing about a brown, Bangla, Muslim woman’s immigrant experience in America. Does she have the right to do this? More importantly, does she succeed?”

Published: Short Story ‘Edge of Her World’ in Queer Ink’s Anthology called ‘Out!’

Standard

My short story, ‘Edge of Her World’ is finally out! The anthology called, ‘Out! Stories from the New Queer India‘ is available now at Queer Ink’s website. Click on the link or the pic to go to QI’s store and order the book. The anthology was edited by Minal Hajratwala– author of the highly acclaimed ‘Leaving India‘. I’m totally stoked to have been a part of this anthology and I can’t wait for my copy of the book so I can read everyone else’s stories!

Watch this space for information on when it’ll be available digitally, in bookstores and also when the official launch is etc.

Below is an excerpt from my story:

“Rosa,” Kaavya began. “Have you ever been in love?”

Rosa felt herself redden. She lowered her eyes and dipped her fingers in the water below. Her tongue felt heavy in her mouth and without warning tears began to flow down her cheeks. She covered her face with her hands and turned away from Kaavya. Her movement rocked the boat gently and Rosa felt Kaavya’s arms around her. She felt her soft kisses on her neck, her chin and when their lips finally met, Rosa broke away.

“No,” she said. “This… is wrong. It’s… it’s a sin, isn’t it?” she asked and wondered how many Hail Marys she would need to cleanse her soul.

“When did love become a sin?” Kaavya asked, dismissing Rosa’s fears and despite everything, Rosa let the thrill of that first kiss sink into her lips.

It’s easy for Kaavya, she thought later, because there were temples full of naked women holding each other.

Video: Dakini’s Theme

Video

Music from KuruCircus Event at CounterCulture, Bangalore! And Ari managed to do something cool with the shitty video I shot.

Dance interpretation of our protagonist Dakini’s descent into the darkness, her illumination by the Aghori philosophy and her eventual return to Calcutta to fulfill her destiny.

Dancer Extraordinaire: Swapna Shree Bhasi.