"Dark Academia and the Lesbian Masterdoc" is, in my humble opinion, the best short story of 2023, but all six of these offerings from SJ Sindu are superb. Sam recommends!
An uncanny and electric story collection from SJ Sindu, Lambda Literary finalist and Publishing Triangle Edmund White Debut Fiction Award–winning author of Blue-Skinned Gods
In “Dark Academia and the Lesbian Masterdoc,” a millennial English professor finds viral fame on TikTok, but her newfound notoriety could wreck her already unstable life. In “Patriots’ Day,” a man having an affair finds himself caught up in larger currents of anti-Asian violence. Throughout the collection, an array of loners and artists—a young poet haunted by the ghost of Oscar Wilde, a home brewer and wife during lockdown, a boy with wings—struggle for connection and fulfillment in a world battered by the pandemic and reactionary politics. A daring writer with limitless range, SJ Sindu can depict shocking cruelty as readily as small moments of queer joy. The Goth House Experiment is a startling and very funny collection by one of America’s most exciting young voices.
About the Author
SJ Sindu is a Tamil diaspora writer whose works include the novels Marriage of a Thousand Lies (winner of the Publishing Triangle Edmund White Award for Debut Fiction and an ALA Stonewall Honor Book) and Blue-Skinned Gods (finalist for a Lambda Literary Award), as well as the graphic novel Shakti and the chapbooks I Once Met You But You Were Dead and Dominant Genes. Sindu holds a PhD in English and Creative Writing from Florida State University and is an Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at Virginia Commonwealth University.
Praise for The Goth House Experiment
An Amazon Editors' Pick
“Original, evocative and memorable, SJ Sindu’s latest examines queerness, gender, class and more. I don’t know how Sindu does it, but somehow these stories are surreal and subversive yet strangely relatable. That’s talent.” —Karla Strand, Ms. Magazine
“A whirlwind of a collection. Bold, timely stories of what it means to live in this surreal world. Sindu’s writing is electric.” –Akil Kumarasamy, author of Meet Us By the Roaring Sea
“What a fantastic, imaginative, subversive set of stories—probing the world and its people with questions and narratives that feel pulsingly alive and urgent, grounded in the world we know and also beautifully strange. In SJ Sindu's hands, you will not only upend your assumptions but also name ideas and feelings you didn't know you had. Read this and emerge changed and hungry.” —V.V. Ganeshananthan, author of Brotherless Night
“[The Goth House Experiment]celebrates queer joy and embraces a wry sense of humor about the state of our collective reality. In many ways, these are stories about how we cope in the face of countless catastrophes, personal and societal, and where we find community and delight.” —C-Ville Weekly
“Sindu invites readers to examine and ultimately accept these characters as they are: narcissistic, loving, unfaithful, righteous, greedy, kind, bigoted. There are no convenient endings here, but readers won't need them. Sindu's characters are terrible, wonderful, and, most of all, human. Will thrill fans of Carmen Maria Machado's Her Body and Other Parties.” —Shelf Awareness Pro
“Sindu's range as a writer is vast... and the styles and genres on display in this collection are further evidence of that.” —Tor.com
“If you're looking for a good collection of short stories, I recommend this one very much.” —Chris Wollak, The Book Cougars podcast
Praise for SJ Sindu
“Sindu masterfully renders how our environments bake into our skin.” —The New York Times
“Enthralling . . . Sindu is a skilled writer, and this is a remarkable first novel.” —Los Angeles Review of Books
“Brilliant . . . The richness of this story will take hold of you and never let go.” —Roxane Gay, author of Hunger “Sindu’s applied cultural knowledge and careful character-building makes each surprise believable without being predictable.” —Associated Press “Sindu’s heart-wrenching debut novel . . . incorporates love, loss, family, rebirth and growth to tell a captivating story you won’t be able to put down.” —Ms. Magazine “Sindu handles the complexities of identity beautifully.” —Minnesota Public Radio “A rich, beautifully told and moving examination of the allure of superstition and legend, the pains of growing up and the pitfalls of lying to others and lying to yourself.” —The Guardian “SJ Sindu is a phenomenal writer.” —Kristen Arnett, author of Mostly Dead Things
“SJ Sindu is one of our finest storytellers.” —Patrick Cottrell, author of Sorry to Disrupt the Peace A remarkable novel rich with interlocking issues both timeless and timely. SJ Sindu’s debut is more than impressive; it’s important.” —Robert Olen Butler, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain “Sj Sindu has given us a true gift in Kalki Sami and his journey. A coming-of-age story wielding philosophical, historical, and emotional moments full of passion, vividly described, Blue-Skinned Gods is one of the most original and beautiful novels I’ve read in a long time.” —Brandon Hobson, author of Where the Dead Sit Talking and The Removed “SJ Sindu has imagined a fascinating premise for her novel exploring identity, family, community and the tensions that arise among them . . . Here Sindu is at her inventive best, with wild juxtapositions of people and situations.” —The Star Tribune
“Marriage of a Thousand Lies is a rare book, written from a queer, South Asian perspective, but a welcome addition to an all-too-small canon.” —Houston Press
“A beautiful exploration of queer South Asian-American identity. With both a compelling plot and a beautifully crafted cast of characters, this novel is a must-read.” —Lambda Literary