Like a Bird

Fariha Róisín. Unnamed, $26 (288p) ISBN 978-1-951213-09-1
Róisín’s engrossing debut novel (after poetry collection How to Cure A Ghost) follows a mixed-race teenage girl’s experience of trauma and survival. Taylia Chatterjee, born into economic privilege on Manhattan’s Upper West Side to a Jewish mother and Bengali-Indian father, is viewed as a disappointment by her parents compared to her sister, Alyssa, the “white-passing majesty,” and both are expected and pressured to succeed. Eventually, the heaviness of their familial roles proves too much, leading Alyssa to commit suicide. Amid the family’s grief, Taylia is raped by a friend of her parents. They blame Taylia, still living at home while enrolled at Columbia, and throw her out, forcing her to cobble together a life from the generosity of new friends: Kat, Ky, and Tahsin. Bouncing from home to home, Taylia makes decisions refracted through both her naiveté and an overwhelming understanding of how cruel the world can be. As she gains a sense of purpose, she feels empowered knowing she can make decisions for herself. Róisín’s portrayal of Taylia’s surrogate family offers a life-giving chronicle of Taylia’s emergence from pain into a new life. Well-paced and hopeful, this stirring work will resonate with those interested in stories of young women breaking free of oppression and trauma. Agent: Mark Gottlieb, Trident Media Group. (Sept.)
Reviewed on : 07/09/2020
Release date: 09/01/2020
Genre: Fiction
Open Ebook - 978-1-951213-10-7
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