cover image A World Between

A World Between

Emily Hashimoto. Feminist Press, $17.95 trade paper (400p) ISBN 978-1-936932-95-5

Hashimoto’s debut immerses readers in the complicated relationship between two women as they weather a college romance, heartbreak, and friendship. In 2004 Boston, Eleanor, a “queer biracial Asian Jewish girl” who is stirred by the writings of Audre Lorde, bumps into the beautiful Leena in the elevator of her college dorm. Within a month, their tentative makeout sessions evolve into ravenous sex, but by the end of the semester, Leena calls it off. Six years later, Leena is dating a man and under pressure to satisfy her Indian family’s desire for family and children. Then she bumps into Eleanor in San Francisco, and the two grow closer after Eleanor moves to New York for a job and becomes Leena’s roommate. Eleanor to Leena narrate alternating chapters over the course of the year as the two women navigate how they fit in one another’s lives. Hashimoto chronicles Eleanor and Leena’s relationship with an intensity that speaks to the enduring power of their initial bond despite the obstacles that fall between them, and while the story of their complicated relationship is strongly felt, a coda set in 2017 ultimately makes the plot feel contrived. Still, Hashimoto consistently charms. (Sept.)