“A timely and compelling look at internet fame and how fickle it really is.… You’ll likely devour it in one sitting.” — Ms. Magazine
Includes an exclusive free soundtrack
Celebrated multidisciplinary artist Vivek Shraya’s second novel is a no-holds-barred examination of the music industry, social media, and making art in the modern era, shining a light on the promise and peril of being seen.
Indie musician Neela Devaki has built a career writing the songs she wants to hear but nobody else is singing. When one of Neela’s songs is covered by internet artist RUK-MINI and becomes a viral sensation, the two musicians meet and a transformative friendship begins. But before long, the systemic pressures that pit women against one another begin to bear down on Neela and RUK-MINI, stirring up self-doubt and jealousy. With a single tweet, their friendship implodes, a career is destroyed, and the two women find themselves at the centre of an internet firestorm.
Vivek Shraya is an artist whose body of work crosses the boundaries of music, literature, visual art, theater, and film. Her bestselling book I’m Afraid of Men was heralded by Vanity Fair as “cultural rocket fuel,” 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 publishing imprint VS. Books. A five-time Lambda Literary Award finalist, Vivek has also received honors 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.
“A beautifully crafted novel about race, music, and social media . . . In this timely novel, Shraya speaks to a modern audience with bold cultural insight, confronting the difficulties of being a brown artist and the drastic impact social media can have on pop culture.” — Booklist
“With the freedom that fiction provides, Shraya took The Subtweet deep into the topics of hate-liking, social media friendships, and Internet celebrities. And the plot, as fast-paced as life on the Internet, shows clearly the way that jealousy and obsession can take shape within the open borders of the online world.” — NPR Books
“Vivek Shraya’s The Subtweet is a sharp, encompassing story . . . A piercing satire played out against diverse creative energies, The Subtweet is affecting, unnerving, empowering, and often truly LOL.” — Foreword Reviews, starred review
“It is clear that Shraya is pouring everything she’s learned from years of writing and making music into a text that combines rhythm and deft technique in bitingly original ways. It is equally clear in The Subtweet that Shraya is using the vehicle of fiction to hash out many of the valid frustrations she’s accumulated over years of navigating the Canadian culture scene . . . Shraya skilfully shows this complexity by depicting characters who are frequently ridiculous, petty, and even malicious, while simultaneously pushing readers to understand the underlying systemic factors driving their frustrating actions.” — Quill & Quire
“The Subtweet takes the topic of online life and allows it to become simply part of the lives of its fully human, complex characters. What emerges is a deeply moving tale about the relationships between artists and friends. Biting and beautiful, it’s written with heart by an essential voice.” — Jonny Sun, author of Everyone’s a Aliebn When Ur a Aliebn Too