Ruby Red Skies

by Taslim Burkowicz  

A betrayed middle-aged mother embarks on a quest that takes her straight into B.C.’s wildfires and her ancient Mughal ancestry.

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  • October 2022
  • ISBN: 9781773635606
  • 364 pages
  • $24.00
  • For sale worldwide
  • EPUB October 2022
  • ISBN: 9781773635804
  • $23.99
  • For sale worldwide

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About the book

Ruby used to be a fiery, sexy, musical genius. But when she got pregnant as a teenager in the 90s, her life took a turn into banality. Now a middle-aged Indo-Canadian woman, she feels unseen and unheard by her white husband and struggles to communicate with her mixed-race daughter. When she discovers her husband cheating, she embarks on a quest to unearth exciting secrets from her past. To find what she needs, she drives straight into B.C.’s raging wildfires, accompanied only by the fantastical stories her mother used to tell about their ancient Mughal ancestry — a dancer named Rubina who lived in the concubine quarters of the great Agra Fort. This book is at once historical fiction and political romance, deftly navigating themes of mixed-race relationships, climate change, motherhood, body shame, death and the passage of time.

Climate & Ecology Feminism, Gender & Sexuality Fiction

What people are saying

Kimia Eslah, author of Sister Seen, Sister Heard

“A story of two women who live centuries apart but share a journey towards resilience. The depictions of Ruby and Rubina, as women travelling arduous paths to understand their needs and aspirations, are as painful as they are accurate. The character of Ruby Malkhana beautifully portrays the tragic experiences of women of colour in Canada, people who are invisible and othered in their own homes and communities. Taslim Burkowicz’s novel encourages us to consider our own journey, the paths that lead us away from ourselves, and the paradigms that explain our choices.”

Dr. Mariam Pirbhai, author of Isolated Incident

“In Taslim Burkowicz’s enchanting novel Ruby Red Skies, two distant places and moments in time—a wildfire-ravaged, contemporary British Columbia and the courtly interiors of seventeenth century Mughal India—are artfully juxtaposed, making for a highly inventive and readable tale driven by questions of paternity, mothering, marriage, race and the quest for self-affirmation. Burkowicz skillfully embroiders each context through the memorable characters of Ruby, a South Asian-Canadian housewife facing a loveless interracial marriage, and Rubina, a dancing girl determined not to fall prey to a concubine’s fate, each of whom reminds us, at every turn of their intersecting stories, that the here and now is often powerfully reimagined by the histories we carry within us. A deftly crafted novel that expands the historical echoes and cultural geographies of Canadian literature.”


Taslim Burkowicz

Taslim Burkowicz’s work is inspired by her Indo-Canadian heritage. Favouring a sensory rich writing style while exploring social justice issues, Burkowicz has a bachelor’s degree in political science and education from SFU. She has written three previous novels. Chocolate Cherry Chai, spanning several countries, tells the story of five generations of Indian women and immigration. The Desirable Sister tackles the issue of colourism as experienced by two Indo-Canadian sisters born with differently hued complexions. Ruby Red Skies follows the journey of a woman on a mission amidst the wildfires of BC while simultaneously exploring the life of a dancer in the Mughal Empire in the 1600s. Burkowicz’s works have appeared on CBC’s new fiction lists and Ruby Red Skies appeared on Shrapnel Magazine’s “Fall Favourites of ’22.” Taslim resides with her husband and three boys in BC, where she runs, dances, reads and is chased by deadlines.


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