For fans of The Burning Girl by Claire Messud and Burnt Sugar by Avni Doshi, a stunning, gut-punch of a novel that follows a young Indian American woman who, in the wake of tragedy, must navigate her family's expectations as she grapples with a complicated love and loss.
On the cusp of her eighteenth birthday, Heera and her best friends, siblings Marie and Marco, tease the fun out of life in Raleigh, North Carolina, with acts of rebellion and delinquency. They paint the town’s water towers with red anarchy symbols and hang out at the local bus station to pickpocket money for their Great Escape to New York. But no matter how much Heera defies her strict upbringing, she’s always avoided any real danger—until one devastating night changes everything.
In its wake, Marco reinvents himself as Crash and spends his days womanizing and burning through a string of jobs. Meanwhile, Heera’s dream to go to college in New York is suddenly upended. Over the years, Heera’s and Crash’s paths cross and recross on a journey of dreams, desires, jealousies, and betrayals.
Heart-wrenching, darkly funny, and buoyed by gorgeous prose, Circa is at once an irresistible love story and a portrait of a young woman torn between duty and her own survival, between obligation and freedom.
“Laskar skillfully portrays the burden of loss and longing in lives defined by trauma.” — Washington Post
"Achingly exquisite.... Fierce and furious.... This emotionally resonant and whip-smart novel will stay with me for a long time." — Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star
“Circa tells beautifully of the confines of grief, the courage that love compels, and the friendship that is at the heart of every enduring relationship. Devi Laskar is a gem of a writer.” — Megha Majumdar, author of A Burning
“[A] luminous coming-of-age novel that centers family, friendship, grief and identity.” — Ms. Magazine
"An intense meditation on multigenerational grief and loss.... Laskar's slim narrative shrewdly belies fierce depth." — Shelf Awareness
“In this stunning follow-up to The Atlas of Reds and Blues, Devi S. Laskar's Circa explores the bonds of friendship and the lifelong reverberations of its loss. As her complicated relationship with Crash frays in the wake of a shared tragedy, Heera presses up against the expectations not only of her family but of what it means to be a brown woman in America, raising her own camera to reverse its gaze. Lyrical, unflinching, and darkly funny, Circa shines with Laskar's signature luminous prose and unforgettable characters.” — Zeyn Joukhadar, author of The Map of Salt and Stars
“With precise and potent prose, Devi Laskar has crafted a sublime coming-of-age novel that explores how a tragedy alters the course of two young lives searching for absolution.” — Anjali Enjeti, author of The Parted Earth
“Here is a coming-of-age novel about family expectations and hyphenated identities, about what it means to grow up in an America that does not always want you, about having parents who don’t always want America, and the ripple effects of that ambivalence. This tender, emotionally wise story explores adolescence, loneliness, friendship, and love through an unforgettable protagonist. Heera stayed with me long after the final page. Circa is absorbing, candid, and beautifully told.” — Maya Shanbhag Lang, author of What We Carry: A Memoir
"An engrossing story of a young woman figuring out the delicate balance of familial obligation while forging her own path, Circa is a shattering work of heartbreak, loss and resilience. If you start reading this novel, just know that you won't be able to put it down until the poignant, beautiful final page." — Kirthana Ramisetti, author of Dava Shastri's Last Day
"A subtle exploration of fate and free will. Keen as a seismologist, Devi S. Laskar traces the reverberations of a violent accident in the life of a young American-Bengali woman from her teen years straddling cultures in suburban North Carolina through her marriage in New York City. Lyrical and defiant, a beautiful and surprising work." — Janet Fitch, author of White Oleander and Chimes of a Lost Cathedral
“Laskar delivers a poignant coming-of-age story of a Bengali American young woman and the death of her best friend…The author intertwines lyrical prose with lucid observations. This stands out as a fully realized study of contrasts.” — Publishers Weekly
“[A] tight, insightful novel… By following Heera from high school to adulthood, the author teases out nuanced tensions…A heartbreaking examination of family ties.” — Kirkus Reviews