A House is a Body by Shruti Swamy

Publication Date: August 11, 2020
Publisher: Algonquin Books
Rating: ★★★

Dreams collide with reality, modernity with antiquity, and myth with identity in the twelve arresting stories of A House Is a Body. In “Earthly Pleasures,” a young painter living alone in San Francisco begins a secret romance with one of India’s biggest celebrities, and desire and ego are laid bare.

In “A Simple Composition,” a husband’s professional crisis leads to his wife’s discovery of a dark, ecstatic joy. And in the title story, an exhausted mother watches, hypnotized by fear, as a California wildfire approaches her home. Immersive and assured, provocative and probing, these are stories written with the edge and precision of a knife blade. Set in the United States and India, they reveal small but intense moments of beauty, pain, and power that contain the world.


Thank you NetGalley, Algonquin Books & Shruti Swamy for a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

This novel has 12 short stories that take place in the US & India about loss, friendship and love. These stories were very complicated and had a lot of hard-hitting topics. Shruti Swamy wrote this topics well, but I’m not sure that I felt “connected” to any specific story. They haven’t sat with me very long as I am having a hard time recollecting a specific title or premise.

The writing style was very different. These stories were written very choppy. I do recognize that these are short stories, but I wish that they flowed a little better. It was like there was something missing, a slight detail or extra blurb, that would’ve made these stories be exquisite.

Overall, I think that these were written really well, just definitely not for me. I think this was a case of “it’s not you, it’s me.” I didn’t feel connected to the stories or characters and I’m wondering if I’m missing something or if it was just part of the story.

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