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A WORLD BETWEEN by Emily Hashimoto


by Emily Hashimoto

Pub Date: Sept. 15th, 2020
ISBN: 978-1-936932-95-5
Publisher: Feminist Press

A sprawling look at the yearslong relationship between two women.

Hashimoto’s debut novel follows two Asian American women as they fall in (and out) of love again and again. When Eleanor Suzuki, “a queer biracial Asian Jewish girl,” meets Leena Shah, a beautiful and “hyperfocused” Indian girl, in an elevator on their college campus, they start an ever evolving relationship spanning more than a decade. In the shadow of graduation, the women try to figure out what their lives will look like together and apart. While Eleanor struggles to decide on her next step, Leena has her whole life mapped out. When explaining her girlfriend’s focus, Eleanor says: “In Leena this severity felt reassuring, like a compass and a map, a way forward.” Imbued with desire, jealousy, and hope, their youthful courtship ends suddenly. Six years later, Leena—while visiting Dhaval, her almost husband-to-be—runs into Eleanor on the streets of San Francisco. As the two make plans to catch up, Leena feels the uncanniness of their encounter: “Nostalgia broke loose inside her, for who she used to be: a college kid open to endless possibilities.” The chance encounter upends both of their lives when they fall back into a friendship—or perhaps something more. Hashimoto’s writing deftly explores the ways relationships, personhood, and expectations shift and change over time. After a secret nearly blows up Leena and Dhaval’s relationship, she questions what her life could be if she let go of what her life should be: “To lose him would be a blow to who she was supposed to be. And. Yet. The wild, restless, tangled unknown beckoned.” Hashimoto beautifully renders the tension between fear and the innate pull of living one’s truth. The novel explores hard questions with honesty, vulnerability, and compassion, which makes the sometimes-painful answers easier to swallow.

A sweeping debut novel about the ever changing nature of identity and love.