Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 15
- Grade: 10
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.
About the author
Sheila James was born in the UK, grew up in Nova Scotia and presently lives in Ottawa. She has trained in the arts in India, England and Canada and completed a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing and Theatre at the University of British Columbia. Sheila has worked as a writer, director and performer in music, theatre and media arts. Her videos, including the award-winning Unmapping Desire, have been screened extensively around the world. Her poetry and short fiction has been published in Canadian anthologies and journals.
In the Wake of LossThis collection of short stories centres on the idea of loss including death, love, comfort and family. All the main characters are Southeast Asian in ancestry including India, Sri Lanka and Pakistan. Most stories take place in Canada and deal with the day-to-day struggles of this multicultural nation. Many of the main characters are women who deal with the difficulties of being a female in the modern world. All the characters must cope with and accept change in their lives.
James is a writer, director and performer in music, theatre and media arts. She won an award for the video Unmapping Desire.
Caution: Includes references to sexuality, murder, accidental death, and includes the use of profanity.
Source: The Association of Book Publishers of BC. BC Books for BC Schools. 2010-2011.