Sheila Sundar with Jennani Durai: Habitations

Sheila Sundar with Jennani Durai: Habitations

Tuesday, April 09, 2024 - 7:00PM ET
Event address: 
Brookline Booksmith
279 Harvard Street
Coolidge Corner
Brookline, MA 02446-2908

In person at Brookline Booksmith! Celebrate the release of Habitations with author Sheila Sundar, in conversation with Jennani Durai.

 

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Habitations

A young academic moves from India to the United States, where she navigates first love, a green card marriage, single motherhood, and more in this “delightful novel, written with immediacy, warmth, and wry humor” (Ha Jin, National Book Award-winning author of Waiting).

Vega Gopalan is adrift. Still reeling from the death of her sister years earlier, she leaves South India to attend graduate school at Columbia University. In New York, Vega straddles many different worlds, eventually moving in and out of a series of relationships that take her through the striving world of academia, the intellectual isolation of the immigrant suburbs, and, ultimately, the loneliness of single motherhood. But it is the birth of Vega’s daughter that forces the novel’s central question: What does it mean to make a home?

Written with dry humor and searing insight, Habitations is an intimate story of identity, immigration, expectation and desire, and of love lost and found. But it is also a universal story of womanhood, and the ways in which women are forced to navigate multiple loyalties: to family, to community, and to themselves.

A profound meditation on the many meanings of home and on the ways love and kinship can be found, even in the most unfamiliar of places, Habitations introduces Sheila Sundar as an electrifying new voice in literary fiction.

Sheila Sundar is a professor of English and creative writing at the University of Mississippi. Her writing has appeared in The Virginia Quarterly Review, The Massachusetts Review, The Threepenny Review, and elsewhere. She lives in New Orleans with her husband and their three children. Habitations is her debut novel.

Jennani Durai is a writer from Singapore living in Boston. Her debut collection of short stories was shortlisted for the Singapore Literature Prize for Fiction. She received the Artist Fellowship from the Massachusetts Cultural Council and the Emerging Artist in Literature award from the St. Botolph’s Club Foundation in 2022 in support of her work. A former journalist, she holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Boston University.