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She of the Mountains

4.26  ·  Rating details ·  1,303 ratings  ·  204 reviews
Finalist, Lambda Literary Award

In the beginning, there is no he. There is no she.

Two cells make up one cell. This is the mathematics behind creation. One plus one makes one. Life begets life. We are the period to a sentence, the effect to a cause, always belonging to someone. We are never our own.

This is why we are so lonely.

She of the Mountains is a beautifully rendered i
Paperback, 128 pages
Published October 14th 2014 by Arsenal Pulp Press
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Average rating 4.26  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,303 ratings  ·  204 reviews

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Apr 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020, recs
Brilliant, subversive, and queer.
Khashayar Mohammadi
A great entry to the world of non-binary Queer literature.

A must read not just for lovers of LGBTQ fiction, but for all lovers of literature.
CW (The Quiet Pond) ✨
Told in concert with one another, this book is part Hindu retelling and part coming-of-age story about a man and his relationship with his body and identity.

Despite being published six years ago, She of the Mountains remains so... relevant and subversive and explores territory that I am still wishing we saw more of. But what really resonated with me was how this book explores how 'being gay' can lead to bullying and anti-gay rhetoric from straight people and how 'being queer' comes loaded with l
Nov 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This was exactly what I needed now.
Lyrical, beautiful and audio narrated in the perfect voice of the author herself.
What a treasure!
Dec 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: canadian, lgbtqia
Vivek Shraya's SHE OF THE MOUNTAINS is doing a lot of things I like seeing done. The novel is comprised of two narratives, a queer love story and a reimagined Hindu myth, both of which dealing with power, identity, and body politics. The book also combines text and image with beautiful illustrations by Raymond Biesinger. Looking forward to doing a full video review of this. ...more
Sep 01, 2014 rated it liked it
When she did leave, and a second head appeared on his shoulder, he tried to conjure her love. She loves you, she loves you, she loves you, he said to the head. It refused to disappear.

Why isn’t this working? She loves you, she loves you, she loves you, his original head kept telling the other, his voice increasing in volume, thinking perhaps the new head’s ears could not hear very well.

You’re wasting your breath, the new head replied. And it was right. Her love did seem to have limitations. Its
Beautifully combines two narratives- a reimagination of several different Hindu mythological stories, and a contemporary story of a queer man's journey of his personal identity. The writing is lyrical and the emotions are raw. You can't miss out on this one. ...more
Greg Giannakis
Jun 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, queer, can-lit
Queer tiingz and mythology is a p wonderful combo.
Jul 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantastical, queer-af
Oh, what can I say about this book that will do it justice? First of all, I read it in all of 90 minutes, AND it has illustrations! I am going to buy a physical copy of this book so that I can underline and highlight my favorite passages; there were just too many to count.

But here, I'll give you one:
"At first, he was certain that the confusion arose from language; more specifically, the failure of language...But with the absence of language, of a label, came an unfortunate implication: shame. T
A stunning lyrical novel that weaves a bisexual story of love and lust with Hindu mythology to create a story that is fucking gorgeous in it’s vivid emotional draw.

She of the Mountains by Lambda Literary Award-winning bisexual author Vivek Shraya blends two stories into one, alternating between telling the Hindu myths of Pavarti, Ganesh, and Shiv with a harsh bisexual coming of age story. The unnamed effeminate bisexual main character endures a childhood of homophobic bullying that leads to his
⋆ Stella ⋆
Jul 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Within this glorious book is a Hindu myth retelling, and a coming-of-age queer love story. What else is there to say but just read it! Read it!
Nov 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
The NB/queer South-Asian-American narrative with Hindu mythology retellings woven in that I could have used like a couple of decades ago. I loved the author's narration and singing in the audiobook, but knowing the hard copy is illustrated, I'm going to purchase that now. Only quibble is that the parallels to the tale of Shiva and Shakti wasn't always... parallel. I might have chosen different parts of their story as a companion narrative, but I would be the last person to presume what speaks to ...more
Reread this for class (have been teaching it) and was wowed again by its disruption of the normative gay coming-out tale and its commitment to questioning, fluidity, indeterminacy (as well as its challenge to hetero and homonormativity and compulsory monosexuality). The parallel storyline of Parvati, Shiva, and Ganesh brings queer reproduction, queer embodiment, and epic long love into the novel, while the mortal protagonist struggles against the categories assigned to him. Bi/Q/T/POC; a thoroug ...more
Jan 11, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: lgbt-etc
A really compelling read, ‘She of the Mountains’ explores the complex phases of self identity and how they relate to our relationships and those around us.
My favourite aspect of the book was the retelling of Hindu mythology which flowed seamlessly with the modern love story.
My only criticism (and it’s a very vague criticism) of this story is the section where the protagonist feels there is no different between gay and straight people in their attitudes towards those who identify as queer. Thou
May 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017
Wow, I was not expecting to love this little book as much as I did. I wish I could send this book to my confused queer self a couple years ago. Bi representation is so f-ing important. So many of the questions in this book were the same questions I asked myself and if I had known I wasn't the only one I would've come out way sooner.
The Hindu stories were a great way to divide up the sections and the changes in the narrator.
I also related way too hard to the relationship. Except everyone reads m
Merritt K.
A lot of the prose didn't work for me -- too much telling, summarizing, distance. But I enjoyed the dual structure of the narrative, and things really open up near the end when the book abandons its dedication to straightforward narration of the main character's feelings and actions for a much stranger, more compelling style. It's also a very aesthetically pleasant object -- the typography and illustrations really come together in a very beautiful way. ...more
feux d'artifice
Jul 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is pretty good! I wish I was more familiar with Hindu mythology though, I feel like I would have gotten more out of the reading experience.
One of the fundamental themes I took away from this reading was the radical act of self love. Beautiful read and beautiful illustrations, and I think this would be a particularly beautiful gift to any QPOC. <3
Jun 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-2019
Beautiful exploration of desire, self, identity, and the quest for something like wholeness. Mixed with an affecting re-deployment of myth.

A friend said: read it in one sitting. This is very good advice.
Ayala Levinger
May 07, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Because I listened to the audio book I didn't see any of the illustrations 😔 but the book is narrated by the author😍 and Vivek reads beautifully. it is a complete experience in itself. This is the third book of Vivek I read and I am certainly going to read the new one that just came out of this talented poet/author. ...more
Chrissy Wilson
Feb 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful and heart wrenching perspective on what it is to be different. As I read through I longed for the human experience of this world to be different, and yet Shraya takes you on a journey of love and beauty and hope.
Grace Machon
Jan 08, 2021 rated it really liked it
Transcendent, queer narrative split with mythology to weave something truly special and unique.

It would have been 5 stars for me if I had felt the emotional gut punch I was expecting as the pace picked up. However definitely something that I will revisit
Sep 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Really beautifully written and difficult to put down. A really powerful telling of the ways pain and abuse can manifest in one's relation to the body. ...more
Feb 20, 2017 added it
Shelves: canadian
ah! so good. twin personal journey of coming to terms with body + sexuality w/ Hindu god stories of Ganesh.
Bogi Takács
Poignant and full of wonder; two parallel narratives of Hindu deities and a contemporary Indian-Canadian queer man's search for sexual and personal identity. I felt it was very true to life, though I am not an Indian-Canadian man at all, but I could very much relate to it. My only issue was that the ending felt too abrupt for me. (view spoiler) ...more
Nethra Ram
Jul 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
One of the best and most poignant narratives I've read. Shraya works magic with brevity. The honesty of the narrative is obvious right away and stays with you long after you turn the last page. The mythology part reads like a Bharatnatyam recital, swaying in time with the music, the story unfolding in front of your eyes in a dramatic yet moving portrayal. That caught me by words can sound and feel like dance! As for the story, the characters' conflicts and resolutions, they couldn ...more
"Queer spoke to all the other spaces and moments his body and his heart didn't fit into."

I love the way Vivek writes about queerness and race - like she is writing to brown queer femmes as if no one else exists. Her lyrical exploration of themes along these lines go beyond 101 introductions; as if she's saying to people who share aspects of her identity 'i see you' , rather than saying 'im teaching you' to those who represent the normative she is trying to disrupt.
Jun 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful and moving juxtaposition between Hindu scripture and a Canadian person's coming of age and identity. The illustrations were incredible and the exploration of queerness and relationships left me thinking well into the night. Highly recommend to anyone looking for a quick read that surround queer relationships. ...more
Laura Frey (Reading in Bed)
Sep 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
Loved this modern love story. Be warned - cover illustration very attractive to kids, but some of the illustrations inside are not kid friendly :) But for those of us old enough to appreciate, they are beautiful!
Kody Keckler
Oct 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book held me gently and gifted me stories of love, loss and hope. Vivek Shraya intertwines two narratives, the first following Hindu mythology of Parvati, Shiva, and Ganesh, and the second telling a modern, queer love story. This short coming of age story raises issues of romantic- and self-love in a world filled with barriers and expectations. What does it mean for a gay man to fall in love with a woman? How can a person love themself while meeting the (homo- and biphobic) expectations of ...more
Aug 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is such a beautiful little book- I couldn't put it down. It's somehow concise without taking away any of the weird messiness that comes from figuring out who you are. 

To me, it's an affirming read for those who don't fit into the gender or sexuality binary and a (hopefully) enlightening read for those who do. The writing is engrossing and poetic. It's split into two intertwined stories: one a queer love story, another a reimagining of a myth. The sections of otherworldly mythology put the p
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Vivek Shraya is an artist whose body of work crosses the boundaries of music, literature, visual art, theatre, and film. She is the author of The Subtweet, Death Threat, even this page is white, The Boy & The Bindi, She of the Mountains, and God Loves Hair; and her best-selling I’m Afraid of Men was her­ald­ed by Vanity Fair as “cultural rocket fuel”. She is one half of the music duo Too Attac ...more

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34 likes · 7 comments
“No, really, what do you like about me? she insisted.


I figure if I know, I can keep doing it to keep you as long as I can.”
“In the absence of white, he could see colour. Your brown has more of a pink base than mine, he had observed the first time they held hands, still looking for answers to her origin in her skin. It’s true. And your brown has a yellowy tone to it, she said. I look jaundiced? She laughed and shoved him gently. No, no. You are golden. I am also darker than you … Your skin is perfect. Why would anyone want to be another colour? She kissed his cheek. Marvelling at her perfectly round chestnut cheeks, he couldn’t help but agree. Falling in love with her brown had unexpectedly given his own skin new value, a new sheen.” 0 likes
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