Vivek Shraya

An illustration of seven stylized arms in green and black on a white background, radiating from the centre of the image, overlaid with fuschia text: SHE OF THE MOUNTAINS. VIVEK SHRAYA.

She of the Mountains

She of the Mountains is a beautifully rendered illustrated novel that weaves a passionate, contemporary love story with a re-imagining of Hindu mythology. Both narratives explore the complex ways that we are formed and transformed by love, and show how the process of learning to love and be loved by another can ultimately—and sometimes painfully—bring us back to our selves.

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The Hindu gods, with their constantly shifting personas and manifestations, add a clever and thoughtful layer to the novel and highlight the intricacies and power of a love that eclipses gender, time, and conventions. Strikingly illustrated by Raymond Biesinger, this is a lyrical ode to love in all its many forms.

An experimental multimedia hymn about delving into one’s self, seeking love without labels.

Kirkus Reviews

In a largely homogenous (white, straight) literary culture, books like Shraya’s are a blessing. There is the sense that what he achieves with She of the Mountains is so new, we don’t have the proper words to articulate its success. The ultimate hope is this work will pave the way for more of its ilk, and provide this country and culture with a robust look at identity and its inherent fluidity.

Vivek’s latest—and most beautiful—work is a truly remarkable, mesmerizing journey. I feel like I’ve uncovered a whole other side to him. One of the brightest new writing talents to come out of Canada.

She of the Mountains weaves together a young man’s journey with Hindu mythology, creating a sophisticated and whimsical tale—a poignant capturing of the search for wholeness, whether on a human or superhuman level.

— Shyam Selvadurai (The Hungry Ghosts)

She of the Mountains is a treatise to epic love. Shraya’s prose is deft and lyrical, and shape-shifts like his characters’ bodies and desires—both otherworldly and human. This is a book that is full of heart, and mine sank and lifted with each turn of the page.

— Farzana Doctor (Six Metres of Pavement)

She of the Mountains is a wonderfully textured book that knows better than to offer hasty answers about identity—rather Shraya draws us into a series of highly poetic and hyper-intimate scenes that allows us to feel and explore for ourselves.

— Amber Dawn (How Poetry Saved My Life)

A forthright, honest, damned sexy book written, gleefully and counter-intuitively, in a lyrical, epic, transcendent style. It is not your typical debut novel, but rather one ripped apart at the spine and then reconfigured via alchemy, Tantric mysticism, the open verse of social media, and pure, raw talent. Sensual, smart (and smart-assed), She of the Mountains is the beginning of something big, bold, and—hold your purse!—glamorous.

— R.M. Vaughan (Compared to Hitler)

Given the intersection of Vivek Shraya’s writing and his music up till now, it should come as no surprise that his newest book is an equally compelling fusion of stories, voices, and textures. She of the Mountains is a touching and transporting prose-poem that has a music all its own.

— Rakesh Satyal (Blue Boy)

A queer love story addressing the issue of bisexual erasure.

Epic is a good word, here, for the book reads like two long prose poems intertwined, two epics fashioned into a double helix… There’s plenty of music, beautiful and heartbreaking, in She of the Mountains, Shraya’s irresistible invitation to join the cosmic dance.

Vivek Shraya has so much soul, he can’t contain it in one genre. She of the Mountains, the new release from the Lambda Literary Award finalist, is part poetry, part novel, part short vignette—all beautiful.

This is a book for readers who want to be taken on an artistic ride.

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Two stylized green-and-black illustrations. The first is of two crossed penises, one lightly coloured and one darker, each with a “word bubble” issuing from the head. The second is of a hand reaching for a television remote control.

She of the Mountains features 16 full-page interior illustrations by Raymond Biesinger, whose work has appeared in The New Yorker and the New York Times.

Read Raymond’s musings on their collaboration:

I would’ve never guessed Vivek Shraya and I would be a good match, but a year after receiving his first call I’m comfortable referring to our collaboration as a “career highlight”…

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