Drawing on her own experiences as a woman of Iranian and British Isle descent, writer Hollay Ghadery dives into conflicts and uncertainty surrounding the bi-racial female body and identity, especially as it butts up against the disparate expectations of each culture. Painfully and at times, reluctantly, Fuse probes and explores the documented prevalence of mental health issues in bi-racial women.
About the author
Hollay Ghadery is a writer living in small town Ontario. Her fiction, non-fiction and poetry has been published in various literary journals, including the Malahat Review, Room, Grain and The Fiddlehead. In 2004, she graduated from Queen's University with her BAH in English Literature, and in 2007, she graduated from the University of Guelph with her Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing. She is the recipient of the Constance Rooke Scholarship in Creative Writing, as well as Ontario Arts Council grants for her poetry and non-fiction. Hollay is the force behind River Street Writing—a collective of freelance writers who create exceptional content, and provide creative consultancy services for personal and professional projects. Learn more about them at www.riverstreetwriting.com.
Excerpt: Fuse (by (author) Hollay Ghadery)
“What I mean,” I said to the therapist, “Is that I'm a tough pill to swallow. I don't make it easy for people to love me.” The therapist puts her pen and clipboard on her lap. She leans forward, reaching an arm out as if she's going to touch me, but stops short and rests her hand on her knee. “I very much doubt that's true,” she says. I shuffle my feet under my chair and force a laugh, waving my hand. “It's amazing how little of this has to do with him.”
I loved Fuse. Ghadery’s writing is raw and beautiful; the tiny details she includes in each story bring you closer to her, and she bravely allows you in. She offers a unique and much-needed perspective on multiraciality and her experience of a bi-cultural life, as well as mental health and addiction, motherhood, and personal growth. I highly recommend it.
Rachel Fernandes, The Miramichi Reader
I cannot find enough superlatives to describe the savage clarity, the gorgeous language, and the remarkable depth of insight contained in this courageous book. It took my breath away.
Diane Schoemperlen, Governor General Award winner and author of This is Not My Life: A Memoir of Love, Prison, and Other Complications
So, far from being a dispassionate investigation, the narrative became a series of windows into Ghadery’s own personal struggles with these conditions. The effect is informative and often moving. The lack of linearity in the narrative has the effect of immersing the reader more into what she is going through, without the sense that there will be inevitable improvement or change. One feels just the immediacy of the moment. This sometimes leads to a lack of chronological clarity, but in the main it intensifies the reader’s experience.
Ottawa Review of Books
Valuable lessons emerge from Ghadery’s complex identity struggles. Exercise, medication, natural remedies, therapy, love for and from her own family, and the support of other women help Ghadery heal and grow. While her first three children have her husband’s last name, Ghadery gives her fourth child, a son, her last name. The act of naming is empowering, unlike accepting or rejecting labels from others.
Kate Foster, Understorey Magazine
Fuse is a gripping testimony about the toll of split allegiances, gendered double binds, and conflicting cultural expectations.
Canadian Literature A Quarterly Criticism and Review
A searing account of the impact of toxic masculinity on a vulnerable young girl's psyche. Hollay, born to an Iranian father and a White mother, explodes onto the page with her coming of age story. Told with wit and verve, Hollay zig zags through the minefield of familial and cultural expectations set for girl children in the 1980's and 90’s, all the while battling an inherited vulnerability to mental illness. Hollay's heroic story to find her authentic self is, at turns, zany, heart-breaking, and profound. A must read.
Nila Gupta, author of The Sherpa and Other Fictions, nominated for the Commonwealth Writers' Prize (2009)