USEREVIEW 069 (Capsule): Dominant Genes

Hollay Ghadery/ March 16, 2022/ Book Review, Capsule Review

SJ Sindu
Dominant Genes (Black Lawrence Press, 2022)
ISBN 978-1-62557-717-7 | 37 pp | $9.95 USD — BUY Here


Dominant Genes is one of the latest chapbooks by Tamil diaspora writer SJ Sindu, published by Black Lawrence Press. This genre-bending book is playful and fierce; stark and lyrical; tender and packed with satisfying, full-blooming rage. Sindu examines many facets of her life in Dominant Genes, including sex and sexuality, genderqueerness and the hold of familial and cultural roles and expectations. Still, it’s Sindu’s ruthless examination and ecstatic celebration of women’s rage that enthralled me most. More than giving voice to her own rage, Sindu speaks to intergenerational rage: “This is a rage we’ve all inherited,” Sindu writes. And then, a little later, speaking of her mother, “I’ve inherited her anger.”

This rage is a result of being boxed in; confined and condemned to prioritizing social expectations over individual authenticity. Dominant Genes is an immersive, subversive and absolutely breathtaking reflection on the values that make us, break us and the spaces we find ourselves in between.

Recommended excerpt:

Check out ‘Banana Tree Wedding’ (p. 18) for a peek at Sindu’s genre-defying writing and deft humour. “And I kill my first husband, the poor little sapling, who will now never know the coziness of soil.”

Hollay Ghadery is a writer living in small-town Ontario. She has her MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Guelph. Her fiction, non-fiction and poetry have been published in various literary journals, including CAROUSEL, Grain, Room, The Antigonish Review, The Fiddlehead and The Malahat Review. Her memoir on mixed-race identity and mental health, Fuse, came out with Guernica Editions’ MiroLand imprint in spring 2021.

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