Hello and happy Wednesday. November and December of 2019 were good months for me blog-wise because I got four different requests to read and review books, which happens but not that often and not all at the same time. I was invited to be a part of a blog tour for A People’s History of Heaven by Mathangi Subramanian and of course I said yes because I’m always open to reading new books and sharing my thoughts about them with you, especially if they represent identities that are often invisibilized. Let me tell you, if you want diversity, read this book. I would like to thank NetGalley, the publishers and the authors for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour.
I read this book between December 30th, 2019 and January 1st, 2020 and gave it five stars. I actually interrupted my reading of other books to devour this one because I was captivated from the very first page. The very first page is a list of the characters with a brief description of them, and I love it when I get that because I feel that I can get to know the characters even before the beginning of the story. Right from that very first page, I felt similarly about this book as I felt towards The Smell of Other People’s Houses by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock; I felt cozy, I felt like I was part of the characters’ lives and I felt like they would be a part of mine from then on.
From the initial description of the characters, we know that one of them is visually impaired (I’m not sure if this is the correct term to use, but it’s the one used in the book), one is queer, and one is a transwoman. The story is set in India and the story is own voices, so there is also representation for POC. Honestly, reading this book is almost like a must because at least in my case, it drove me away from the same bland setting and the same bland characters and the same bland authors.
Heaven, where the main characters (who are all female) live, is a slum in India that is being demolished by the government and turned into white-washed buildings like huge malls. I read about colonialism in India when I was in high school, of course, but I’d never read a novel that narrated what actual people went through, and it was eye-opening.
Every chapter or set of chapters focuses on one of the characters and alternates between the past and the present. In this way, it’s more like a collection of short stories that are tied up by the events of the present, the seemingly imminent destruction of the slum and the efforts of the women to stop it.
What books that discuss cultures other than the American or the Western one do you recommend? Let me know in the comments.
Love, Miss Camila