Monday, 28 October 2019

#BookReview : Fierce Femmes & Notorious Liars by Kai Cheng Thom

Fierce Femmes and Notorious Liars: A Dangerous Trans Girl’s Confabulous Memoir by Kai Cheng Thom is the highly sensational, ultra-exciting, sort-of true coming-of-age story of a young Asian trans girl, pathological liar, and kung-fu expert who runs away from her parents’ abusive home in a rainy city called Gloom. Striking off on her own, she finds her true family in a group of larger-than-life trans femmes who live in a mysterious pleasure district known only as the Street of Miracles. Under the wings of this fierce and fabulous flock, Dearly blossoms into the woman she has always dreamed of being, with a little help from the unscrupulous Doctor Crocodile. When one of their number is brutally murdered, the protagonist joins her sisters in forming a vigilante gang to fight back against the transphobes, violent johns, and cops that stalk the Street of Miracles. But when things go terribly wrong, she must find the truth within herself in order to stop the violence and discover what it really means to grow up and find your family.

Fierce Femmes and Notorious Liars is a fictionalized memoir written by Kai Cheng Thom & published by Zubaan Books. The debut author is also a performance artist, social worker, fierce trans femme and notorious liar who loves lipstick and superhero cartoons. She is also a mental health community worker and co-founder of the collective Monster Academy: Mental Health Skills for Montreal Youth.

This book revolves around our fierce Asian trans-woman protagonist trying to find her way in the world & while doing so discover some ‘mystical & magical creatures’. As she leaves her house where she faces constant abuse to start her new life, she comes across several friends & people who became her family. While being with her new family she eventually finds her true self and evolves to attain her actual identity. But as another fellow femme friend gets murder in a hate crime, our protagonist along with her friends decide to fight the hate by themselves & form their own little vigilante group named the ‘Lipstick Lacerators’. But as it happens, things go wrong & our protagonist need to now introspect how should they mend their ways while also protect themselves. Get this book here to get the whole experience,
This is my first fictionalized memoir to start with & honestly I wasn’t that sure about it, but the first paragraph of the book itself made it sure that I am in for a treat. The author made sure that the fictional parts didn’t ruin her experiences and they came out beautifully. Kai Cheng Thom’s story is that of sisterhood, loss and so much more. Her relationship with her sister is endearing and fills you up with joy as you read it. I can go on and on how much I loved reading this book but I will surely give away a lot of spoilers in doing so & hence can just urge you to please pick it up.

Tuesday, 8 October 2019

#BookReview : A Desolation Called Peace edited by Ather Zia & Javaid Iqbal Bhat

The accession of Kashmir to the Indian Union in 1947 had raised objections both in Kashmir and India, echoes of which continue to be heard even today. At the time, Sheikh Abdullah was the uncrowned king of Kashmir; today, his grave is under security lest it be vandalized. What accounts for this change in attitude? A Desolation Called Peace provides important insights to understand the political aspirations of the people of Kashmir and the change in their perceptions since Independence. Written and edited by Kashmiri authors, this collection of ethnographic essays explores the desire for 'azadi' as a historical and indigenous demand. While the accounts traverse the period from before 1947 to the momentous time of 1989 when militancy began, the essays illustrate how postcolonial politics has impinged on Kashmiri lives and aspirations, thus paving the way for the intractable dispute of today. This anthology of deeply felt essays will enable an understanding of Kashmir beyond the hackneyed tropes that portray the issue reductively as a proxy war, terrorism or a simple law and order situation.

A Desolation Called Peace is an anthology edited by Ather Zia & Javaid Iqbal Bhat and published by Harper Collins India. Ather Zia is a poet & political anthropologist who teaches at University of Northern Colorado, Greeley. Ather is the author of Resisting Disappearances: Military Occupation and Women's Activism in Kashmir. Javaid Iqbal Bhat is an assistant professor in the Department of English, University of Kashmir. He is the author of Scars of Summer and two other books on Kashmir.

 The book consists of 12 different chapters which cover the stories of Kashmir from 1947 to 1989. It tries to make readers understand the wishes & aspirations of Kashmiris. Each essay tells a different perspective pertaining to the lives and experiences of Kashmiris existing since a long time. It deals with the permeating feeling of ‘azadi’ within masses, why it exists & its significance. They also give us a brief idea how militancy permeated through and the post independence politics created a tug of war situation leading to the dispute we see today. Each essay extracts a different shade of pain, loss & suffering. Get the book here to educate yourself about the story of Kashmir,
Kashmir is going through turmoil and the best thing we can do right now is keep talking it and I believe this book serves the best way to keep the conversation going on. A Desolation Called Peace is an excellent collection of twelve essays giving us an overview of the Kashmir Conundrum. It traces down the history of the existence of discontentment within the masses and what lead to the manifestation of militancy and violence. The language used is extremely simple, the cover & the title is apt too. One of the best books out there to read about Kashmir.