A "Globe 100" Best Book of the Year (The Globe and Mail)
Lambda Literary Award finalist
In the beginning, there is no he. There is no she.
Two cells make up one cell. This is the mathematics behind creation. One plus one makes one. Life begets life. We are the period to a sentence, the effect to a cause, always belonging to someone. We are never our own.
This is why we are so lonely.
She of the Mountains is a beautifully rendered illustrated novel by Vivek Shraya, the author of the Lambda Literary Award finalist God Loves Hair. Shraya weaves a passionate, contemporary love story between a man and his body, with a re-imagining of Hindu mythology. Both narratives explore the complexities of embodiment and the damaging effects that policing gender and sexuality can have on the human heart.
The illustrations are by Raymond Biesinger, whose work has appeared in such publications as The New Yorker and the New York Times.
Vivek Shraya is an artist whose body of work crosses the boundaries of music, literature, visual art, theatre, and film. Her books include I'm Afraid of Men, The Subtweet, even this page is white, She of the Mountains, Death Threat, and The Boy & the Bindi, and her album with Queer Songbook Orchestra, Part-Time Woman, was nominated for the Polaris Music Prize. She is one half of the music duo Too Attached and the founder of the Arsenal Pulp Press imprint VS. Books. A six-time Lambda Literary Award finalist, Vivek was a Pride Toronto Grand Marshal, was featured on The Globe and Mail's Best Dressed list, and has received honours from the Writers' Trust of Canada and the Publishing Triangle. She is a director on the board of the Tegan and Sara Foundation and an Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Calgary.
She of the Mountains is a treatise to epic love. Shraya's prose is deft and lyrical, and shape-shifts like his characters' bodies and desires - both otherworldly and human. This is a book that is full of heart, and mine sank and lifted with each turn of the page. -Farzana Doctor, author of Six Metres of Pavement and Stealing Nasreen
Vivek Shraya's intimate novel weaves together a contemporary love story with Hindu mythology, incorporating strikingly bold illustrations from Raymond Biesinger. This is a book for readers who want to be taken on an artistic ride. -The Advocate
A cathartic tale simply told. -The Globe and Mail ("The Globe 100")
Given the intersection of Vivek Shraya's writing and his music up till now, it should come as no surprise that his newest book is an equally compelling fusion of stories, voices, and textures. She of the Mountains is a touching and transporting prose-poem that has a music all its own. -Rakesh Satyal, author of Blue Boy
She of the Mountains weaves together a young man's journey with Hindu mythology, creating a sophisticated and whimsical tale -- a poignant capturing of the search for wholeness, whether on a human or superhuman level. -Shyam Selvadurai, author of The Hungry Ghosts
The Hindu gods, with their constantly shifting personas and manifestations, add a clever and thoughtful layer to the novel and highlight the intricacies and power of a love that eclipses gender, time, and conventions. Strikingly illustrated by Raymond Biesinger, this is a lyrical ode to love in all its many forms. -Publishers Weekly
She of the Mountains is a forthright, honest, damned sexy book written, gleefully and counter-intuitively, in a lyrical, epic, transcendent style. It is not your typical debut novel, but rather one ripped apart at the spine and then reconfigured via alchemy, Tantric mysticism, the open verse of social media, and pure, raw talent. Sensual, smart (and smart-assed), She of the Mountains is the beginning of something big, bold, and - hold your purse! - glamorous. -R. M. Vaughan, author of Compared To Hitler
Vivek Shraya seamlessly blends a lyrical interpretation of Hindu mythology with a contemporary coming-of-age tale . .. Studded with abstract illustrations by Raymond Biesinger, Shraya's book is accessible, yet complex. There is the sense that what he achieves with She of the Mountains is so new, we don't have the proper language to articulate its success. The ultimate hope is that this work will pave the way for more of its ilk, and provide this country and culture with a robust look at identity and its inherent fluidity. -Quill and Quire (STARRED REVIEW)
She of the Mountains is a wonderfully textured book that knows better than to offer hasty answers about identity - rather Shraya draws us into a series of highly poetic and hyper-intimate scenes that allows us to feel and explore for ourselves.
-Amber Dawn, author of Sub Rosa and How Poetry Saved My Life
Vivek's latest - and most beautiful - work is a truly remarkable, mesmerizing journey. I feel like I've uncovered a whole other side to him. One of the brightest new writing talents to come out of Canada.
-Tegan Quin, of Tegan and Sara