This debut collection of short stories focuses on the conflicts and challenges experienced by diasporic South Asian characters who struggle to face truths about intimate relationships, often confronted by violence and always negotiating between the banal and the extraordinary events that shape their lives. These characters include Rajani, a mail-order-bride who opens a lingerie shop only to find herself and her sister implicated in the trial of a serial killer; Nilika, an elderly and lower-caste woman, living in poverty with her two sons, one cruel, the other kind; Miriam, a Muslim lesbian who escapes her family and the feminist community and sets up a bed and breakfast with her lover; and Rajan, a refugee and former member of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, who concocts a playboy image to escape memories of the brutal war in Sri Lanka. These stories will appeal to readers who are interested in viewing the immigrant experience in a contemporary and complex light. These are bold explorations of exile, desire, violence and grief, conveyed with wit and candour, ultimately evoking resilience and hope.
Sheila James was born in England and raised in Nova Scotia. Trained in music, she has performed and composed for stage and various media. She has released a recording of original children's songs, Radio K.I.D.S. Her performance art character and alter ego, Jimmy Susheel, has graced the stage of many festivals from Desh Pardesh (Toronto) to Women in View (Vancouver). Inspired by art and social justice, James has facilitated numerous "theatre of the oppressed" workshops. She has founded two community arts theatre groups: The Rice Girls and Stree Theatre. She has written several stage plays, including All Whispers / No Words and A Canadian Monsoon, which were produced by Company of Sirens, the latter in association with Theatre Passe Muraille. She has created and collaborated on four videos: She's a Diva, Unmapping Desire, Lakme Takes Flight and Orphan Dyke, and authored one screenplay, Erased, which have all been screened internationally to acclaim. The award-winning Unmapping Desire has been translated into French and German and broadcast by ZDF in Europe. James' poetry and short fiction have been published in various anthologies and journals. Sheila holds a BA (Honours) in Music from York University and an MFA in Creative Writing and Theatre from the University of British Columbia. She currently lives in Ottawa.
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