In the Wake of Loss

In the Wake of Loss

In the Wake of Loss

by Sheila James


  • Autumn 2009
  • ISBN 978-1-55380-075-0
  • 6″ x 9″ Trade Paperback, 208 pages
  • Short Stories

This debut collection of short stories focuses on the conflicts and challenges experienced by diasporic South Asian characters who struggle to face truths about intimate relationships, often confronted by violence and always negotiating between the banal and the extraordinary events that shape their lives.

These characters include Rajani, a mail-order-bride who opens a lingerie shop only to find herself and her sister implicated in the trial of a serial killer; Nilika, an elderly and lower-caste woman, living in poverty with her two sons, one cruel, the other kind; Miriam, a Muslim lesbian who escapes her family and the feminist community and sets up a bed and breakfast with her lover; and Rajan, a refugee and former member of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, who concocts a playboy image to escape memories of the brutal war in Sri Lanka.

These stories will appeal to readers who are interested in viewing the immigrant experience in a contemporary and complex light. These are bold explorations of exile, desire, violence and grief, conveyed with wit and candour, ultimately evoking resilience and hope.

“Sheila James explores the intimate and interlocking relationships of husbands and wives, daughters and mothers, employers and employees, lovers and friends as they are caught by the forces of history, pushed sometimes by lofty ideals, and often by human weakness. James’ compassion is wide reaching. Listen to her. She has much to tell us about who we are in the present moment.”
— Larissa Lai, author of When Fox Is a Thousand

“Vital stories coursed through with rushing blood and the fragility of skin, taking us to places far flung and deep, deep within hidden recesses inside us all.”
— Ashok Mathur, author of The Short, Happy Life of Harry Kumar

“A rich and provocative collection. These stories crackle quietly until they burst into flame, suddenly, surprisingly.”
— Ramabai Espinet, author of The Swinging Bridge


Reviews & Awards

Honourable Mention, ForeWord Reviews Book of the Year Award (short fiction category)

Longlisted for ReLit Awards 2010

Finalist, Ottawa Book Awards

“Sheila James shows high regard for breadth. . . . a worthwhile read.”
Matrix Magazine

“Sheila James does a beautiful job of connecting us to her many characters, and making us experience a sliver of the pain of their loss.”
The Book Chick

“The collection is rich with locations and characters that interact with their Canadian landscapes. . . . Sheila James writes of the strength, endurance, and love that are required for women to survive.” — Canadian Literature