This “sterling debut” short story collection explores immigrant life in prose that is “crisp and economical but also poetic and full of imagery” (Publishers Weekly, starred review).
The nine linked stories of Reema Rajbanshi’s Sugar, Smoke, Song are set in the Bronx, California, India, and Brazil. Following the secrets and passions of young women, these stories and their narrators cross genres and rules to arrive at unforeseen lives. A subway rider remembers enacting the gods with her estranged twin; a concert usher discovers her tango-dancing boyfriend’s lover; and a literacy worker confesses the gambles she and others have lost through the bluesy singers she admires.
Told through semi-experimental play with nonlinear plots, plural narrators, and hybrid prose, these stories embody the experiences of immigrants from Africa, Asia and South America who carrying histories both unseen and cyclically lived.