One Day We'll All Be Dead and None of This Will Matter

A senior writer at BuzzFeed Canada and contributor to the Hairpin and the New Yorker, Scaachi Koul stuns with her witty and affecting debut essay collection, One Day We'll All Be Dead and None of This Will Matter. Each piece combines self-deprecating humor, personal observation and keen cultural insight to examine the roots of modern fears and desires.

In the brilliantly layered opener, "Inheritance Tax," Koul excavates the origins of her own menagerie of phobias, including flying, swimming and traveling to exotic locales. Her parents immigrated to Canada from India, and after the deaths of their parents, became increasingly protective of their young daughter. Koul, in turn, adopted their worrisome ways and to this day frets over the "unknown forces" that might take the life of a loved one. Impressively, Koul writes with a humor that elevates her worries into something more universal.

Koul's parents reappear throughout the collection. In "Fair and Lovely," Koul and her family--including a young niece who is "always passing for white"--visit relatives in India. There, Koul experiences privileges as a light-skinned Indian woman that weren't available to her back in Calgary, and she watches with complicated feelings of pride and concern as strangers praise her niece's fair skin. By parsing these interactions, the essay transcends personal travelogue to create a biting yet hilarious commentary on racism. Taken together, the pieces offer a frank perspective of what it's like to live as a woman of color in both Western and Indian cultures. --Amy Brady, freelance writer and editor

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