Aftermath

Preti Taneja. Transit, $15.95 trade paper (238p) ISBN 978-1-945492-54-9
Novelist Taneja (We That Are Young) explores colonialism, violence, and grief in this stunning experimental collection. Taneja taught creative writing for three years at a prison in Britain, until one of her students, Usman Kahn, went on to kill two people after his release. She digs into her subsequent grief and places it within the context of capitalism, white supremacy, and terrorism. “There is a hierarchy to grief,” she suggests in “Disenfranchised grief,” while in an essay titled “An event happens and,” she writes “In moments of deep loss we become as children, trained to seek comfort in the old fairy tales: the fundamental good versus the fundamental evil.” In “Violence as trauma as form,” meanwhile, she wishes for “a different map... other words.” Taneja writes with clarity, depth, and specificity about the role of writing as a source of survival and power, while remaining blunt and clear-eyed about the moments when words fail. She also turns a critical lens toward the way language shapes violence, suggesting in the epilogue that “Power tells a story to sustain itself, it has no empathy for those it harms.” This poetic, urgent, and self-reflective work will delight fans of Valeria Luiselli’s Tell Me How It Ends and Claudia Rankine’s Citizen. (Nov.)
Reviewed on : 10/05/2021
Release date: 10/01/2021
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 978-1-945492-58-7
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