THE CHAI HOUSE by Priti Srivastava released in 2020 in the Dystopian Thriller, Feminist Fiction, Horror genre.
The Chai House is a haunting debut novel that explores the complexity of community when individuals are unaware of their own roles in upholding systems of oppression. Swati has spent her entire life trying to live up to her family’s expectations of her. She has learned it is easiest to just do what is asked of her, without resistance; a skill that has helped her survive in the early years of the Knights, an authoritarian regime. When her mother has a request for Swati, she agrees to it as it is the only way to help her young niece have some sort of future. An emotional page turner, The Chai Houseexamines the desire to be true to yourself in a world where familial, cultural, societal, and political values direct you to stay small and stay silent.
The story takes place under fascist rule. There are descriptions of war, violence, rape, and forced birth.
Meet the Author:
Priti Srivastava lives in Madison, Wisconsin with their best friends. Priti works to create inclusive spaces as they hope that one day everyone will feel as though they belong. When Priti isn’t working or doing chores, they enjoy playing video games, making their friends laugh, eating samosas, and sitting quietly. They also love to read and on the rarest of occasions Priti writes about Priti in the third person. Priti loves to connect with readers. Follow them on social media to request a virtual visit with your book club.
When Childless by Choice is No Longer an Option:
The Chai House trilogy is all about reproductive rights & the women are left out of policy decisions despite being fully behind the fight for these rights and being most impacted by these decisions. It’s a dystopian story but not much imagination is needed as their society is not too different than my own.
My husband & I are childless by choice. For years now, if he calls me from another room to check something out or to ask for help with chores, I joke, “No. I’m laying horizontally for all the women before me who couldn’t.” Because I’m the first person in my family to choose not to have kids. To not force myself into the gender role expected of me. If I don’t change these expectations with my own behavior I am complicit with these unwritten rules that harm so many, and not just with the unequal emotional and mental labor when it comes to being a parent, running a household, and of course being a daughter.
How many generations of mothers who always ate last? How many generations of children’s needless sacrifices, what was lost from their own lives to help raise their siblings; how many eldest daughters had to sacrifice their own childhoods, what would be different with family planning & access to not even excess but simply ADEQUATE food, education, love?
Having bodily autonomy and the ability to choose whether I had children, and if so, how many, directly influenced my ability to write. I know I would not have had the time, energy, or capacity to share my stories with the world if I had to fulfill every expectation placed upon me, because of societal rules and constructions associated with my gender.
Policies are enforced without our input and societal conditioning is forced upon us, despite us shouting that we want change. Abortions will continue to happen. Forced childbirth will continue to happen. Abortion will no longer be safe or legal and just as happened in The Chai House, a rapist can now choose who he wants for the mother of his child. Yet the mother has no choice.
Not much imagination is needed when reflecting on future dystopian states.
This blog is part of a tour. Here is the tour schedule.
Win signed copy or audiobook format of THE CHAI HOUSE (winner’s choice) (2 winners) (USA only) (ends Nov 11)