cover image Each of Us Killers

Each of Us Killers

Jenny Bhatt. 7.13, $17.99 trade paper (180p) ISBN 978-1-7333672-6-4

The stories in Bhatt’s rich debut collection mine the complicated experiences of Indians and immigrants. As one character notes in “Journey to a Stepwell,” destiny “is simply a dagger thrown at you, which you must catch either by the blade or the handle. If you can figure out which end is which.” In “Return to India,” Bhatt gives voice to a group of employees at a U.S. engineering firm who piece together the details of an Indian American coworker’s murder while revealing their history of microagressions and racial bias. “Life Spring” explores a divorced baker’s life in Mumbai and the inspiration she takes from a one-night stand (“I think, sometimes, of what happened that night with Charlie as a kind of oven spring for my life”). In “Neeru’s New World,” a live-in maid in Ahmedabad is propositioned and blackmailed by another servant, causing her to feel trapped not only by the class divide but by her limited power as a woman. Bhatt is skilled at locating her characters’ suffering and desires, and her blunt prose captures their matter-of-fact worldviews. These stories are memorable on their own, and they add up to a powerful expression of the hunger for success on ones own terms. (Sept.)