Sugar, Smoke, Song

Reema Rajbanshi (Author)
Pre-Order   Ships Aug 25, 2020


Sugar, Smoke, Song is a collection of ten linked stories set in the Bronx, California, India, and Brazil. Following the secrets and passions of young women, these stories and their narrators cross genres and rules to arrive at unforeseen lives. A subway rider remembers enacting the gods with her estranged twin, a concert usher discovers her tango-dancing boyfriend's lover, and a literacy worker confesses the gambles she and others have lost through the bluesy singers she admires. Told through semi-experimental play with nonlinear plots, plural narrators, and hybrid prose, these stories embody the experiences of Asian American women carrying histories both unseen and cyclically lived.

Product Details

$16.95  $15.59
Red Hen Press
Publish Date
August 25, 2020
5.5 X 0.7 X 8.4 inches | 0.55 pounds
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About the Author

Reema Rajbanshi is a creative and critical writer born in Miami and raised in the Bronx. Her short stories have been published in print and online journals such as Chicago Quarterly Review and Blackbird and explore the nonlinear lines of girlhood, violence, and migration. As a graduate of the UC Davis writing program, she plays with semi-experimental forms and crafts narratives of the body. As a graduate of UC San Diego in literature, her research work on global indigeneities, Brazil, and Northeast India also appear across her creative fiction and nonfiction. Among her awards and fellowships are travel grants from her alma mater, Harvard University, and a Pushcart Prize nomination. She currently teaches at Haverford College and lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Sugar, Smoke, Song is her first book.


The fire and guts of this material made a helix with the poetics and heart of the story. I was left breathless several times. This writer is on the cusp of inventing a signature language meant for telling this particular story.
--Lidia Yuknavitch, Red Hen Press Women's Prose Prize judge 2018

This novel is a gorgeous thunder swirl of dance and music, failure and friendship. I love how the places--India, New York, San Francisco, and beyond--press out through the narrative alongside Hindu, American, and family mythologies. I love the rhythms in it, the scatter and the necessity.
--Ramona Ausubel, author of Awayland

"Each story contains a fully realized world, often revealed in elliptical pieces, and the collection coheres beautifully. This is a stunner."--Publishers Weekly