When Fariha Róisín was 12, the idea for what would eventually become her first novel came to her in a dream. She didn’t have all the words for all that she wanted to say, but she started anyway.
Now she is 30, with a body of poetry, personal essays and other writing that has delved deep into her own experiences with abuse, violence and shame, and her book, “Like a Bird,” was published by Unnamed Press this month. Writing it over these many years has been part of her recovery, she said in a video interview, and a response to the absence of stories about what happens after someone is abused.
“I think a lot of my work has pivoted towards writing about healing just primarily because I need to heal and I’m processing it in real time,” Róisín said. “I need to believe I can survive. I need to believe that there’s a future for me. And I can’t guarantee that if I can’t see that page, if I can’t visualize it.”
“Like A Bird” tells the story of Taylia Chatterjee, a young woman growing up in relative affluence on Manhattan’s Upper West Side but with parents who are both repressive and remote. She feels invisible to those around her, with the exception of her loving older sister, Alyssa.
After Taylia is sexually assaulted, her family disowns her, and she is left to find her own way, emotionally, physically and financially. Guided by the spirit of her grandmother, and with the help of new friends and lovers, she gradually comes to terms with what she has experienced and what it means to heal. Róisín dedicated the book to survivors.
“I feel like I
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