– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free.
I’m grateful of receiving a free copy from the publisher/author in exchange for an honest review of this book. –
About the Author :
Elizabeth Chakrabarty is an interdisciplinary artist who uses creative and critical writing, besides performance, to explore themes of race, gender and sexuality. Her story Eurovision was short-listed for the Asian Writer Short Story Prize, published in Dividing Lines (Dahlia Publishing, 2017).
Her shorter creative-critical work has appeared in English and in translation in New Writing Dundee, Women and the Arts, Glänta, and Espace Lesbien Rencontres et Revue d’Etudes Lesbiennes. She is a contributor to the anthology edited by Kirsty Gunn, Imagined Spaces, published in 2020 (Saraband). She lives in London.
An innovative hybrid of auto-fiction, crime fiction and critical race memoir, this multi-layered yet compulsively readable novel is inspired by the author´s real and extended experience of serious racial harassment, as well as exploring her search for justice and for love
Tesya has reasons to feel hopeful after leaving her last job, where she was subjected to a series of anonymous hate crimes. Now she is back home in London to start a new lecturing position, and has begun an exciting, if tumultuous, love affair with the enigmatic Holly. But this idyllic new start quickly sours.
Tesya finds herself victimized again at work by an unknown assailant, who subjects her to an insidious, sustained race hate crime. As her paranoia mounts, Tesya finds herself yearning for the most elemental desires: love, acceptance, and sanctuary. Her assailant, meanwhile, is recording his manifesto, and plotting his next steps.
Inspired by the author’s personal experiences of hate crime and bookended with essays which contextualise the story within a lifetime of microaggressions, Lessons in Love and Other Crimes is a heart-breaking, hopeful, and compulsively readable novel about the most quotidian of crimes.
‘Lessons in Love and Other Crimes’ by Elizabeth Chakrabarty is a book like I’ve never read before as it’s a unique hybrid between non-fiction and fiction, but somehow it seems to work.
The bulk of the book follows the fictional life of Tesya who is looking for her place within society whilst dealing with racism, hate crimes and her mysterious new lover Holly.
It’s a well written suspense novel where you also get a level of insight in the head of an assailant via ‘Lessons’ which gives a fascinating look at a detestable person’s mind.
What makes this book special however is the fact that you get interjections from the author herself, not only telling about her writing process, but also about her personal experience growing up and dealing with the same issues as her main character.
It makes you very aware that it isn’t just fiction, it’s reality for a lot of people all over the world and that gives this book an extra edge.
A very thought-provoking and eye-opening read that, although I didn’t like the ending of the fictional part, I totally recommend for everyone to read!
The Magic of Wor(l)ds