Devi S. Laskar
18th February 2020
The Atlas of Reds and Blues
This Washington Post Best Book of the Year grapples with the complexities of the second-generation American experience, what it means to be a woman of color in the workplace, and a sister, a wife, and a mother to daughters in today’s America.
When a woman–known only as Mother–moves her family from Atlanta to its wealthy suburbs, she discovers that neither the times nor the people have changed since her childhood in a small Southern town. Despite the intervening decades, Mother is met with the same questions: Where are you from? No, where are you really from? The American-born daughter of Bengali immigrants, she finds that her answer―Here―is never enough.
Mother’s simmering anger breaks through one morning, when, during a violent and unfounded police raid on her home, she finally refuses to be complacent. As she lies bleeding from a gunshot wound, her thoughts race from childhood games with her sister and visits to cousins in India, to her time in the newsroom before having her three daughters, to the early days of her relationship with a husband who now spends more time flying business class than at home.
Drawing inspiration from the author’s own terrifying experience of a raid on her home, Devi S. Laskar’s debut novel explores, in exquisite, lyrical prose, an alternate reality that might have been.
The entire novel takes place over the course of a single morning. . . and the effect is devastatingly potent. –Marie Claire
Devi S. Laskar’s The Atlas of Reds and Blues is as narratively beautiful as it is brutal . . . I’ve never read a novel that does nearly as much in so few pages. –Kiese Laymon, author of Heavy