A People's History of Heaven

By Mathangi Subramanian

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“She learns to ask. To want. To hope. Learns the feeling of responding to a hunger that lives, not in her belly, but somewhere else in her body.”

A People's History of Heaven offers a portrayal of an impoverished urban community in India which is both honest about the hardships this community faces and is not written like tragedy-porn. Instead, Subramanian's focus is the ways in which the members of the community fiercely show up for one another across difference to not only survive, but to carve out joy in their ironically (or perhaps aptly) named neighborhood called "Heaven." The people of Heaven are tenacious, loyal, resourceful, and creative. They reject the pitying gaze of international "aid" and engage in resistance in the tradition of grassroots Indian activists. A People's History of Heaven is not a replacement for deeper conversations around gender-violence, colorism, government corruption, and rising Hindu nationalism in India, but it is an important acknowledgement of the inherent value and agency of the people that fall "at the bottom" of these structures.

Read for: lyrical prose, uplifting representations of gender and sexual diversity with family support, post-colonial analysis,  youth friendly

Content warnings: One scene of verbal harassment towards a transgender youth. State violence and poverty (not graphic).

Esmé, Firestorm Collective member

Product Details

304 pages
Algonquin Books (3/19/19)
5.5 x 0 x 8.3 inches



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