INTRODUCING A DAZZLING NEW LITERARY VOICE
In two-time O. Henry-prize winner Swamy’s debut collection of stories, dreams collide with reality, modernity collides with antiquity, myth with true identity, and women grapple with desire, with ego, with motherhood and mortality. In “Earthly Pleasures,” Radika, a young painter living alone in San Francisco, begins a secret romance with one of India’s biggest celebrities. In “A Simple Composition,” a husband’s moment of crisis leads to his wife’s discovery of a dark, ecstatic joy and the sense of a new beginning. In the title story, an exhausted mother watches, distracted and paralyzed, as a California wildfire approaches her home. With a knife blade’s edge and precision, the stories of A House Is a Body travel from India to America and back again to reveal the small moments of beauty, pain, and power that contain the world.
A House is a Body is an intimate collection of stories that explores a range of human emotions, conditions and relationships. It is tender and riveting. The prose is simple yet searing. Even though each story embodied a different soul, together these stories came together to reveal a humanity that is full of beauty, hope and pain.
“She was like hearing your own heartbeat. If you stop for a minute and are entirely still you can hear it. All along she’s with you, but you never notice until you think to notice.”
In this passage Swamy is talking of mothers but in her intuitive way her female characters call to attention many nuanced perspectives of looking at the world.
“When he lifted his eyes to me for a moment I felt the wind knocked out: I was a bell, and he’d rung me.”
A House is a Body using electric prose and imagery to bring both the realistic and surreal alive. It is definitely worth your time to pick this book up and steep in its well of emotions.
Meet the Author
From the author’s website: “The winner of two O. Henry Awards, Shruti Swamy’s work has appeared in The Paris Review, the Kenyon Review Online, Prairie Schooner, and elsewhere. In 2012, she was Vassar College’s 50th W.K. Rose Fellow, and has been awarded residencies at the Millay Colony for the Arts, Blue Mountain Center, and Hedgebrook.
She is a Kundiman fiction fellow, a 2017 – 2018 Steinbeck Fellow at San Jose State University, and a recipient of a 2018 grant from the Elizabeth George Foundation.”