Register Monday | July 15 | 2024

The Spring 2019 Book Room

Loli, a young Congolese immigrant in Toronto, finds herself in a series of intense relationships, increasingly aware of two conflicting desires. On one hand, she wants to be close with charismatic, often controlling women; on the other, she wants to know who she might be without them. Téa Mutonji’s collection of linked short stories Shut Up You’re Pretty (Arsenal Pulp Press) follows Loli and asks bigger questions about who gets to define whom. Crisp, clean prose depicts Loli’s unstable dating life, much of it pulsing with homoerotic tension. As she tries to understand who she is, that question is complicated by the ways others pigeonhole her—an immigrant, and poor. In her public housing complex in Scarborough, Loli gets her hair done by an older neighbour before staying for dinner. TV news plays in the background, dismissing the murder of a young man from her neighbourhood, calling ...

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