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Young, free-spirited Maya Mubeen leaves behind the pressures of family, marriage and tradition for a life of experience and adventure — proving to herself, and her mother, that she is anything but a typical Indian girl. After diving with sharks in the Philippines and a sordid breakup amidst the bustling nightlife of Tokyo, Maya’s sense of who she is — and where home is — starts to falter.
An ancient chai-making ritual holds the key to Maya’s past and present, unlocking the secret lives of her mother, Nina, who lived through Idi Amin’s rule in Uganda, her grandmother, Nargis, forced into marriage at thirteen, her great-grandmother, Sukaina, an underground radical socialist who fled an abusive husband, and lastly, her great-great grandmother, Zainab, who left behind a luxurious life in India.
Traversing the globe and historical eras, Taslim Burkowicz’s debut Chocolate Cherry Chai binds together themes of familial pressures, the immigrant experience, motherhood, love and loss into a poetic narrative.
“This book is a moving contribution to the growing body of fictional writings about migrants and racialized women across transnational borders. An authentic description of events and stories that is profoundly touching.”
— Habiba Zaman, Simon Fraser University and author of Asian Immigrants in “Two Canadas”
“Through home-made Chocolate Cherry Chai, Burkowicz cleverly weaves together haunting life stories across time and space, told by, of, and to women, of fleeting romance, enduring hardship and heartache, powerful and yet at times powerless mother-child bond, warmth, and cruelty. The most haunting of all are the tales of generations of women with burning yellow eyes who were forced to cross India, Kenya, Uganda, Pakistan, and Canada. Honest, fresh, powerful.”
— Huamei Han, author of Transfer and other stories