“Why wasn’t fully committing to creation more desirable than observing what everyone else was doing and doing the same?” (Shraya 4).
Indie artist Neela Devaki has been writing songs that only a small few seem to actually want to listen too, but when one of Neela’s songs goes viral by internet cover artist RUK-MINI things begin to change. The two muscians meet and a deep friendship blossoms, but the music industry has a way of pitting friends, especially women, against one another. Jealousy and self-doubt begin and with a single tweet a friendship ends as does one of their careers as the women find themselves the centre of internet drama.
Holy this was a good book! I haven’t read any of Vivek Shraya’s books before and I’m kicking myself now for doing it years after seeing her at a literary festival panel, but better late than never right?
The Subtweet does so much in so little pages. Neela and RUK-MINI are both such well-crafted characters, Shraya’s writing allows readers to feel so close to them and to care for these two women so much that once the conflict in the story emerges it’s heartbreaking to readers. I loved that Shraya set the story in Toronto, while I don’t live their I live close enough for it to make me miss my semi-regular bus trips pre-COVID and I loved the references to places I knew, now I want to go and find the Grapefruit Moon just so I can know what it’s like.
Overall this book is just smart and very clever. I love the References Shraya includes at the end of her novel and often when reading it I missed being in university, reading articles like the ones in the References and being able to discuss it with people. The Subtweet is also an excellent look at internet and cancel culture, I don’t know how she represented the anxiety, jealousy, and longing that people feel looking at other people’s feeds but Shraya did it.
The Subtweet was a phenomenal read and that won’t get out of my brain for a long long while. It’s just the entirety of the novel, the parallels, character choices, it made me wish I was in a book club and discuss this book in great detail. Very rarely can one find a perfect book, but The Subtweet is it.
Publication: April 7th 2020
Publisher: ECW Press
Pages: 220 pages (Paperback)
Genre: Fiction, Contemporary, Canadian, LGTBQ*
My Rating: ⛤⛤⛤⛤⛤
“Everyone talks about falling in love, but falling in friendship can be just as captivating. When Neela Devaki’s song is covered by internet-famous artist Rukmini, the two musicians meet and a transformative friendship begins. But as Rukmini’s star rises and Neela’s stagnates, jealousy and self-doubt creep in. With a single tweet, their friendship implodes, one career is destroyed, and the two women find themselves at the center of an internet firestorm..”