May 01, 2012
Tania James could send many postcards. She was born in Chicago, raised in Louisville, lived in Boston and New York while obtaining degrees from Harvard and Columbia (where she received her MFA in fiction in 2006), and now resides in Washington, DC. Perhaps it’s only fitting, then, that her first collection, forthcoming from Knopf (May 2012), is called Aerogrammes. I highly anticipated this collection from James, whose debut novel, Atlas of the Unknowns, was described by The San Francisco Chronicle as “the most exciting since Zadie Smith’s White Teeth,” and I wasn’t disappointed. James’ characters—turn-of-the century Indian wrestlers, traditional Indian dance instructors, chimpanzees from Sierra Leone, and self-appointed editors of DIY scriptology magazines—struggle with identify and family in funny and heartbreaking ways. Their blood runs like ink into your bedsheets, and although your threadcount ruined, you can’t quite toss it away.