USEREVIEW 069 (Capsule): Dominant Genes
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.
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.”