The Subtweet by Vivek Shraya Review

The Subtweet by Vivek Shraya Review

You ever read a book and know instantly that it’s going to be a basically perfect read and one of your new favourites? Because that’s exactly how I feel about this book!! I was a beautiful piece of art, and even has stunning music accompanying it!! 

Overall, this book scores a 4.5/5 stars. My only issue with it was how short it was! I want more!!!

Plot & Characters

Usually, I like to discuss the plot and characters separately from each other, but this book so beautifully tangles them together in a way where I can’t bear to separate them to discuss them!

This book follows the lives of two Canadian musicians, Neela and Rukmini, their unexpected friendship through Ruk-Mini’s cover of Neela’s song “Every Song”, their careers, and the subtweet that threw everything into a seemingly endless tornado. It deals with the intersections of race and gender, and what it means to be a brown woman (both cis and trans!) in the music industry, especially from a Canadian context. 

Vivek Shraya is one of those artists that blows me away with pretty much everything she does – and she’s done a lot! But when I first learned of this novel I knew it would be something I would adore in a much different way to her other works. And I was right, this was so unique in every way. 

I loved to learn the history of Neela and Rukmini’s relationship, and how as we learned about them we got to see them be characterized and form alongside the plot. I loved that Neela and Rukmini were such complex characters, too. It’s so important to see women, especially women of colour, written in this way, and it made them feel so much more like real people. It was so fascinating to see how Neela’s insecurity and jealousy mirrored Rukmini’s, but how Neela’s inevitably veered off to create the subtweet that blew everything up. 

The tweet itself was brilliant, as was the aftermath. It was so real, which is what made it even more effective. This is something that has happened in real life countless times before, but being so invested and involved directly in the lives of these characters made it all the more breathtaking. Plus, it opened this conversation of race, white supremacy, and cancel culture that was so nuanced in its portrayal. The use of Hayley Trace’s character within all this was so brilliant. The way she existed as this kind of satirical metaphor for white saviorism and white supremacy was brilliant, and I love how it subverts the common use of women of colour as plot devices for diversity in the same breath. 

There’s so much packed into just over 220 pages of content that I really couldn’t see the plot and characters any other way – though again, I’d love to read about them more!

Style & Storytelling Execution

I wish this book was a movie. It felt like one while reading, if I’m honest. Everything about Vivek’s writing is so beautiful and vivid. This is something I’ve noticed while reading her previous works, and something I’ve loved a lot about her work. She writes with this kind of fluidity that makes everything feel so atmospheric and raw, and also really powerful. I was truly so blown away by this story and the way it was told. As I’ve said before, all I want is more!! I want to know more about these women and their lives so badly, but I do think the book is just as good the way it is, I’m just greedy!

Overall, I really, really recommend this book and had an amazing time reading it. Do yourself a favour and check it out! 

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