Polar Vortex

Shani Mootoo. Akashic, $16.95 trade paper (336p) ISBN 978-1-61775-862-1
Mootoo (Moving Forward Sideways Like a Crab) serves up a slow-burning examination of identity, gender, desire, and immigration through the relationship of an older lesbian couple living on a small tourist island in Canada. Priya, an artist and Indian raised in Trinidad, narrates most of the novel while she and her girlfriend, Alex, await the arrival of Priya’s longtime friend Prakash, an Indian man whose family fled Idi Amin’s regime in Uganda. Priya and Alex had moved from Toronto to the rural island to concentrate on their creative work, but the mostly white setting makes Priya feel out of place. Prakash, meanwhile, had pursued Priya for years even though he was married with children and Priya was dating women. As Priya goes through the day, memories of her past drift in and out as she questions her troubled relationship with Prakesh, and Prakesh’s imminent arrival puts a strain on Priya’s relationship with Alex. The precise prose outlines the factures of trust and Priya’s temptations, as Priya struggles with the differences between Alex and Prakash in relation to her feelings as an immigrant. Mootoo’s subtle, thought-provoking tale stands out among stories of characters gripped by the past. (Sept.)
Reviewed on : 07/13/2020
Release date: 09/01/2020
Genre: Fiction
Hardcover - 978-1-61775-908-6
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