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The Blitz Book Club: She of the Mountains

 
In the beginning, there is no he. There is no she.
 
Two cells make up one cell. This is the mathematics behind creation. One plus one makes one. Life begets life. We are the period to a sentence, the effect to a cause, always belonging to someone. We are never our own.
 
This is why we are so lonely.
 
She of the Mountains (Arsenal Pulp Press), the second book from Toronto multimedia artist Vivek Shraya, follows in the footsteps of his Lambda Award–nominated debut God Loves Hair by combining visual art, storytelling and spirituality. 
 
With stunning accompanying visuals by Raymond Biesinger, whose work has appeared in The New York Times and GQ magazine, She of the Mountains weaves two narratives into one poetic exploration of love, gender and sexuality.
 
Part contemporary love story and part reimagining of the legends of the Hindu gods Shiva, Parvati and Ganesh, She of the Mountains unites heart and spirit, reality and myth, self-loathing and self-love to create a portrait of the godliness of humans and the humanity of gods.
 
The contemporary section of the novel focuses on a bisexual man’s relationship with a woman and “was a challenging section to write because it was based on real, hurtful experiences of biphobia I experienced, particularly within the LGBT community,” Shraya says in a press release. “The experience was also a large inspiration for the book, as I have experienced the ways literature can be transformative. The truth is bisexuality/queerness is still largely seen as a fraud and a joke, and my hope was that by writing a queer love story, perhaps I would offer a different perspective.”