Ep. 154 Devi S. Laskar

Photo by Anjini Laskar

This episode features excerpts from It’s Lit alum Devi S. Laskar’s second novel, Circa, and the music she chose to go along with them. Check out Devi’s past full features on episodes 5 and 87 (which celebrated the release of her first novel), and her contributions to episodes 26 and 126, which celebrated the release of the Alone Together anthology.

DESCRIPTION OF CIRCA

A first-generation Indian American teenager’s world shatters when her best friend is killed in a car accident, fracturing her plans and reshaping her family.


“Growing up in 1980s Raleigh, Heera longs to be a normal American teenager. But her Bengali parents are strict and unyielding on everything from clothes to food, unwilling to adapt any more than they must to the country they immigrated to before Heera’s birth. Heera rebels with her best friend, Marie, and Marie’s older brother, Marco, her crush. The siblings look out for Heera, helping her sneak out and claim small victories in her quest for freedom. But when a drunken driver kills Marie while the three are leaving a party, Heera struggles to find the comfort she needs from her parents until further tragedy strikes the family and their close-knit community. On the verge of college, Heera feels conflicting loyalties and expectations and struggles to carve out the life she wants. This tight, insightful novel is built on familiar themes of struggles in immigrant families between first-generation children and their parents. But the author eschews simple, binary answers to the challenges Heera and her family face. Sometimes the expectations placed on Heera are suffocating, and other times her ever watchful parents and their community form a safety net, a fact that becomes especially clear in the wake of Marie’s death, when Marco becomes unraveled under a lack of supervision and guidance. By following Heera from high school to adulthood, the author teases out nuanced tensions in the parent-child dynamic that add richness to this oft-explored topic.”

Kirkus Review

BIO

Devi S. Laskar is a caffeine enthusiast, especially Kona coffee, as well as a poet, novelist, essayist photographer, artist, former newspaper reporter, and TarHeel basketball fan. She is the author of award-winning The Atlas of Reds and Blues. Her second novel, Circa, was published May 3, 2022, by Mariner Books. Her third novel, MidnightAt The War will be published by Mariner in early 2024. From Chapel Hill, N.C., she now lives in California. Find her on Twitter and Instagram @DeviSLaskar and on her website: https://www.devislaskar.com/

#circa #aapi #comingofage #novel  #identity #assimilation #patriarchy

PLAYLIST

  1. Author Intro
  2. Elton John’s “Tiny Dancer”

3. The Pretender’s “Back on the Chain Gain”

4. LIT: “Blue Jean Dreams” (page 1, first section of Circa)

5. Stevie Nicks’s “Edge of 17”

6. LIT: from “Fast” (page 50)

7. The Cure’s “Pictures of You”

8. LIT: from “Girl, Missing” (pages 74-75)

9. Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill”

10. AUTHOR INTERVIEW

11. U2’s “One Tree Hill”

FULL EPISODE

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