So, after reading Queer little nightmares one of the stories that I was especially fond of was Anuja Varghese’s The Vetala’s Song, so I was elated when I found out that House of Anansi Press was coming out with a whole collection of her short stories, Chrysalis.   The collection is a sampling of the different changes that people can go through and as a transwoman a subject resonates with me in so many facets of my life.     

Anuja Varghese writing combines two things that seem incompatible and yet perfectly in sync, the complete  specificity of her  heritage and home while also  taking her characters through completely fresh and innovative scenarios.   The tales are not always gentle but always thought provoking.  

I enjoyed all of the tales but  my favorite was still the Vetala’s song  a story of a woman making a bargain with an dark spirit for the chance to reunite with her sapphic lover one last time.   That is haunting and yet beautiful in its tale of loss.

For fans of horror there were in the Bone Yards a tale of two sisters finding that their house  had the ability to “fix” things and then discovering the horrible price it takes.  

Then there is Cherry Blossom, a story told from shifting points of view about three people intertwined in relationships held together and apart by lies and fear until one makes the choice to break  the veil between them. This one holds my favorite sentence I have read in a long time.

     “And so, they mythologized each other with their mouths and their hands and their heat, and as the leaves fluttered down to filter the apartment light in shades of red and gold, it was a dream from which Marjan never wanted to wake”

 The penultimate entry Midnight at the Oasis begins with a sibling that is harassed by father and family for their treatment of their sisters barbies and the lack of adherence to the male role who eventually moves away , lives her true life and through creativity and a found family finds acceptance for her true self within and by those around her.

While not every story may be for every person taken as a whole this is a must read for anyone who has faced difficult changes in their life in the quest to be who they really are.    

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