Today I have a review of The Atlas of Reds and Blues by Devi S. Laskar. Thank you to Counterpoint Press for my copy and the invitation to review. The book is now available!
There’s so much I could tell you about The Atlas of Blues and Reds, but there’s so much I’d rather you experience completely on your own if you decide to pick this up. This book is a treasure and a standout.
The narrator, known as The Mother, moves with her family from Atlanta city-proper to the suburbs, where she quickly finds that, though decades have passed since her own childhood, not much has changed.
The questions are always the same. “Where are you from?” “No, really- where are you from?” The narrator was born in the United States to Bengali immigrant parents. But that answer is never enough.
Now she has three daughters to protect and a husband who works all the time, leaving her to fend for the children herself.
The Mother has been living on edge due to the racism she’s been experiencing, and it all comes to a head one morning when the police raid her house. Based loosely on the author’s personal experience with a similar raid, this story instantly comes vividly and sharply to life.
The police call to her house is baseless, and rather than her usual complacency, her anger boils over. The Mother is shot.
The Atlas of Reds and Blues is an enlightening portrayal of the experience of some second-generation Americans. It offers insight into being a woman of color at work, in the suburbs, as a friend, a wife, and mother. The writing is lyrical and the storyline completely immersive. Overall, I easily give The Atlas of Reds and Blues my highest recommendation. It made me think. It made me feel. It left me inspired.
I received a complimentary copy. All opinions are my own.
An arresting debut novel which bears witness to American racism and abuse of power, tracing one woman’s shift from acquiescence to resistance.
When an unnamed narrator moves her family from the city of Atlanta to its wealthy suburbs, she discovers that neither the times nor the people have changed since her childhood in a small southern town. Despite the intervening decades, the woman, known only as The Mother, is met with the same questions: Where are you from? No, where are you really from? The American-born daughter of Bengali immigrant parents, her truthful answer, here, is never enough. She finds herself navigating a climate of lingering racism with three daughters in tow and a husband who spends more time in business class than at home.
The Mother’s simmering anger breaks through one morning, when, during a baseless and prejudice-driven police raid on her house, she finally refuses to be calm, complacent, polite—and is ultimately shot. As she lies bleeding on her driveway, The Mother struggles to make sense of her past and decipher her present—how did she end up here?
Devi S. Laskar has written a brilliant debut novel novel that grapples with the complexities of the second-generation American experience, what it means to be a woman of color in the workplace, a sister, a wife, a mother to daughters in today’s America. Drawing inspiration from the author’s own terrifying experience of a raid on her home, The Atlas of Reds and Bluesexplores, in exquisite, lyrical prose, an alternate reality that might have been.
Have you read The Atlas of Reds and Blues, or is it on your TBR? Happy Reading! ~ Jennifer THR