How to Make Your Mother Cry: Fictions (Paperback)

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How to Make Your Mother Cry: Fictions (Paperback)


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Staff Reviews

One of the coolest things about reading work that has been excluded from the mainstream is seeing the creativity that results. When the "usual" narrative does not include you, a writer faces the necessity, but also the freedom, of finding a new way to tell a story. Sejal Shah does that to such great effect here. These stories, photographs, fictional letters...fragments, add up to much more than their parts. Shah is a writer whose work is worth seeking out.


— From Gwen

From the author of This Is One Way to Dance, linked genre-queer short stories braided with images and ephemera explore the experiences of growing up and living as a diasporic Gujarati woman searching for home.
In the eleven linked short stories of How to Make Your Mother Cry, Sejal Shah builds a shrine gleaming with memory and myth. Keys, rocks, photographs, fairy tales, fables, and relics all add texture and meaning to an exploration of growing up and living as a diasporic Gujarati woman in a culture that excuses the behavior of men. Throughout, girls and women contend with the expectations, limitations, and challenges of becoming the heroine of one’s own life.
How to Make Your Mother Cry—Shah’s follow-up to her award-winning essay collection This Is One Way to Dance—continues the rich tradition of innovative feminist work by Claudia Rankine, Leslie Marmon Silko, and Maxine Hong Kingston. By braiding stories and images with fictional letters to a beloved English teacher, the collection defies traditional autofiction, epistolary, and short story conventions. These astonishing stories about friendship and love, resilience and survival establish Shah as an exciting new voice in contemporary fiction.
Sejal Shah is an artist, dancer, poet, writer, and teacher whose work crosses genres and disciplines. The daughter of immigrants from Kenya and India, she is the author of the award-winning essay collection This Is One Way to Dance and the groundbreaking essay on invisible disability and neurodiversity “Even If You Can’t See It.” She lives in Rochester, New York.
Product Details ISBN: 9781959000136
ISBN-10: 1959000136
Publisher: West Virginia University Press
Publication Date: May 1st, 2024
Pages: 192
Language: English

How to Make Your Mother Cry is an incredible cross-cultural manifesto of word and body: What is home. What is mother. What is family. What is self. What is woman, and how do we story her.”
Lidia Yuknavitch, author of Thrust and Verge

“Urgent, intense, and intimate, the stories in Sejal Shah’s How to Make Your Mother Cry conjure memories and stir the soul. A clever and beautifully crafted collection!”
Deesha Philyaw, author of The Secret Lives of Church Ladies

“Sejal Shah has written a stunning hybrid work, and I’m in awe of its candor, risk, and craft—this is a book I will recommend to other writers, professors of creative writing, and readers of literary texts. I see Shah’s book as broadening and supporting the larger conversation of work by writers of color.”
Jon Pineda, author of Let’s No One Get Hurt

“Each sentence is its own jewel box of pleasures and delights. Like works by Sara Ahmed, Audre Lorde, and Claudia Rankine, this groundbreaking collection will be a touchpoint for years and decades to come.”
Rahul Mehta, author of No Other World and Feeding the Ghosts

“If a queer text is an unsettled one, crossing cultures, crossing genres, then this book rescripts what we think we know. Shah is a master storyteller who keeps us knowing differently. How to Make Your Mother Cry is bold and brave. A collection for a new century.”
Dawn Lundy Martin, author of Good Stock Strange Blood