Fariha Roisin – Like a Bird
Taylia Chatterjee has never known love, and certainly has never felt it for herself. Growing up on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, with her older sister Alyssa, their parents were both overbearing and emotionally distant, and despite idyllic summers in the Catskills, and gatherings with glamorous family friends, there is a sadness that emanates from the Chatterjee residence, a deep well of sorrow stemming from the racism of American society.
After a violent sexual assault, Taylia is disowned by her parents and suddenly forced to move out. As Taylia looks to the city, the ghost of her Indian grandmother dadi-ma is always one step ahead, while another more troubling ghost chases after her. Determined to have the courage to confront the pain that her family can’t face, Taylia finds work at a neighborhood café owned by single mother and spiritualist, Kat. Taylia quickly builds a constellation of friends and lovers on her own, daring herself to be open to new experiences, even as they call into question what she thought she knew about the past.
Taylia’s story is about survival, coming to terms with her past and looking forward to a future she never felt she was allowed to claim. Writing this for eighteen years, poet and activist Fariha Róisín’s debut novel is an intense, provocative, and emotionally profound portrait of an inner life in turmoil and the redemptive power of community and love.