The Atlas of Reds and Blues
An excerpt from The Atlas of Reds And Blues (Counterpoint Press)
. . . in which the narrator attempts to decide which particular incident set her on the path of this particular life story, concrete driveway and all, without sprinkling regret and bitterness over everything upon which she stews, without uttering the word no . . .
"Devi S Laskar's debut novel is a "searing meditation" on race and gender"
Gargi Gupta, DNA India
"Devi S. Laskar's The Atlas of Reds and Blues is as narratively beautiful as it is brutal. In prose that moves between cushioning characters' falls and ushering our understandings of characters' utopias, Laskar creates a world where the consequences of American terror never stop reverberating. I've never read a novel that does nearly as much in so few pages. Laskar has changed how we will all write about state-sanctioned terror in this nation."
Kiese Laymon, author of Heavy
“Devi Laskar has written a beautiful, harrowing fever dream of a novel. This is a book that insists in no uncertain terms and despite horrific institutional and everyday racism that South Asian Americans are indeed, American. This is a book I have been waiting a very long time for. A monumental achievement.”
Nayomi Munaweera, author of Island of a Thousand Mirrors:
“In her kaleidoscopic novel, Devi S. Laskar maps the wild pendulum swings of life in suburban America as experienced by a woman of color. From the quotidian to the epic, from traumatizing invisibility to mortal danger, the cumulative effects of racism are balanced against the narrator's relentless determination to persevere --- as a mother and as a human being. The Atlas of Reds and Blues provides a fiercely honest reckoning with today's cultural landscape, both its history and its future.”
Elizabeth Rosner, author of Survivor Cafe:
“The Atlas of Reds and Blues is an unforgettable exploration of what it means to be a woman of color in contemporary America. Laskar describes the climate of lingering racism that surrounds her narrator and family in a wealthy suburb of Atlanta with a poet's touch. A searing, powerful and beautifully written novel.”
Jean Kwok, author of Girl in Translation:
"A brown woman lies bleeding on the concrete. An agent of the state has shot her down in her own driveway. Her life—and the lives of her children, her whole family—spools out as she waits to find out if she will die. The Atlas of Reds and Blues is a triumph of book, mining the most searing art out of a horror pulled straight from current events. Devi S. Laskar announces herself as a brilliant, bold talent with her debut novel. This is a book that should be read, and discussed, and cherished.”
Victor LaValle, author of The Changeling:
Gas & Food, No Lodging
This book of poems explores the questions of identity and race, and what it means to be in exile in your own country. Ms. Laskar writes of the politics of race and gender and not belonging in both the Deep South of the United States where she was born and raised, and in India, where she spent many summers as a child and adolescent visiting her extended family.
“The road trip of Gas & Food, No Lodging travels the interstate of precise form, indelible language, and a music that rivals the wind, creat[ing] a tryptic of dreams that is interpreted through mythologies”
— Elmaz Abinader, author of "This House, My Bones
“Laskar ... often looks back to a culture that is thousands of years older than ours and what that offers—the tension from this knowledge lends her poems a kind of poignant humor and bitter wisdom. ”
— Patricia Spears Jones, author of "A Lucent Fire: New & Selected Poems"
Ms. Laskar's poetry explores dislocation. The title poem plays with the idea of turning back time or catching a glimpse of the future - but the narrator wakes to find that all the best plans are in fate's hands. She writes of the underbellies of fairytales and myths - and how, sometimes, change and wisdom follow great personal upheaval.
“In a deft chorus of voices and a multitude of styles, Laskar — the “uninvited guest witnessing all” — turns her gaze on everything from Sanskrit psalms to simple rain to “those deadbeat stars” and shows them to us upended, startling, and new.”
— Molly Fisk, radio commentator and author of "The More Difficult Beauty"