First Fiction Friday: Monster Child
Rahela Nayebzadah's Monster Child (Wolsak & Wynn) is not your typical immigrant story. Through the eyes of three Afghan children, an uncaring world, filled with racism, family secrets and magic unfolds. Readers must squint to see clearly through shape-shifting forms of evil to determine who truly is the Monster Child.See more details below
What: Monster Child (Wolsak & Wynn, 2021)
Who: A mother of two, Rahela Nayebzadah holds a PhD in the Faculty of Education from the University of British Columbia. Currently, she is a schoolteacher. Her autobiographical novel, Jeegareh Ma (2012), was based on her family's migration to Canada from Afghanistan.
Why you need to read this now: Monster Child showcases the view of an uncaring and racist world through the eyes of three Afghan immigrant children. Evil takes many forms and it is up to the reader to determine who is truly the Monster Child. This is not your typical immigrant story. Seen through children’s eyes it shows us the struggles of starting a new life, racism and the need to fit in, but it also shows the unspoken and often glossed over traumas that happen within the immigrant communities, as they do in all communities. Monster Child incorporates the fresh and sharp look of immigrant life that pulls no punches as seen in Angry Queer Somali Boy and combines it with the raw truth of family secrets and the damage they cause without the hope of forgiveness like in Butter Honey Pig Bread. When you take all these complex concepts, you create the unforgettable Monster Child.
In a powerful debut novel author Rahela Nayebzadah introduces three unforgettable characters, Beh, Shabnam and Alif. In a world swirling with secrets, racism and a touch of magic we watch through the eyes of these three children as Nayebzadah's family of Afghan immigrants try to find their way in an often-uncaring society. But as a sexual assault on thirteen-year-old Beh unleashes the past and destroys the family the reader is left wondering who is the monster child? Is it Beh, who says she is called a disease? Is it Shabnam, who cries tears of blood? Is it Alif, who in the end declares "We are a family of monsters"? Or are the monsters all around us? Monster Child is equal parts darkness and wonder. This debut novel offers the reader depth and truth with a dash of magic. Through trauma and resilience, the reader is left in a constant state of curiosity that uplifts through humour and familiarity. Monster Child does not hold back and there are new surprises on every page that demand to be revealed. Readers will be entranced until the very last line.
Incorporate the fresh and sharp look of immigrant life in Angry Queer Somali Boy that pulls no punches and combine it with the raw truth of family secrets and the damage they cause without the hope of forgiveness in Butter Honey Pig Bread (Arsenal Pulp Press) to create the unforgettable Monster Child.
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A mother of two, Rahela Nayebzadah holds a PhD in the Faculty of Education from the University of British Columbia. Currently, she is a schoolteacher. Her autobiographical novel, Jeegareh Ma (2012), was based on her family's migration to Canada from Afghanistan.
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