Gia and Serena Pirji are sisters, but as the first-generation born in Canada to immigrant parents, their lives play out in different ways because of their skin tone. Gia’s fair skin grants her membership to cliques of white kids as a teen, while Serena’s dark skin means she is labelled as Indian and treated as inferior. This superficial difference, imposed by a society obsessed with skin colour and hierarchy, sets the sisters into a dynamic that plays out throughout their lives. In a world where white skin is preferable, the sisters are pitted against each other through acts of revenge and competition as they experience adultery, ruined friendships, domestic abuse, infertility and motherhood.
Taslim Burkowicz’s vivid, sensory-rich writing style brings readers to the party scene in Goa, suburban supermarkets in Vancouver and a safari in Africa, where Gia and Serena navigate through the highs and lows of a tumultuous, loving relationship. The Desirable Sister reveals the bitter games of treachery women are forced to play to achieve the ranks of beauty and success, and ultimately shows the strength of love between sisters.
“Presented like a kaleidoscopic tapestry, we watch with fascination as Gia and Serena come of age and emerge from the grip of race and colour to become independent young women. Taslim Burkowicz is a masterful storyteller of intimate details that are surprising and sometimes shocking.”
— Simon Choa-Johnston, author of The House of Wives