SJ Sindu is a Tamil diaspora author of two novels, Marriage of a Thousand Lies and Blue-Skinned Gods, as well as the hybrid fiction and nonfiction chapbook I Once Met You But You Were Dead. A 2013 Lambda Literary Fellow, Sindu holds a PhD in English from Florida State University, and teaches at the University of Toronto.
Sindu visited my class to speak about her experience growing up in Sri Lanka during the civil war, and we read 2 stories from this book that were amazing, and so I borrowed the rest of the book from my professor. I think every person should read it.
It discusses war, feminism, racism, classism, her relationship with a transgender man, and often blends these together to create a narrative of her life. I'm blown away by how much I loved this and I wish it were more widely known about.
This book will take you 30 minutes to read, and it will stick with you for a lifetime. A short collection of prose poetry and fragmented stories, this little chap packs in contemplations of gender, violence, heritage, immigration, memory, and so so so much more. Really marvelous in language and content. Highly recommended.
"It stings the back of your throat, something sweet on the top of your mouth, the underbelly of your tongue. Squint through the thick gray air, the yellow haze of safety glasses. This is gunpowder, invading your lungs, combusting into starchy smoke. This was not your idea."
Blurbed by Sara Lippmann, Geoff Bouvier, and CJ Hauser, "I Once Met You But You Were Dead" is a one-of-a-kind exemplar of the hybrid genre. Sindu juxtaposes girlhood, womanhood, and cultural gender politics with war and violence in one unforgettable mashup. Says Lippmann, "People ask me why I read, and my answer is for work like this: that stirs me out of my comfort zone, that upturns expectation and burrows into the deep, that grabs me by the heart and transports me, leaving me changed."