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Books Editorial

problemsbook.jpg Problems

Jade Sharma, Tramp Press

Maya is a 20-something New Yorker working part-time in a bookshop while juggling relationships and trying to work on her MA thesis. So far so Girls, you may think. But this is a world away from Lena Dunham Land. For one Maya is an Indian-American woman, and for two she also has a massive drug habit. She also has a husband of seven months in the shape of sturdy but boring Peter (“When Peter woke up he looked liked James Dean. I woke up looking like I’d been in a bar room brawl”). She also acquires a lover in Ogden, a much older man and a former college professor. Maya tells her tale in the first person with a lacerating honesty particularly when it comes to having, or thinking about, sex, but the thumpingly frank descriptions are balanced by her very funny observations that light up the book throughout. The novel is also particularly good when it comes to Maya’s addictions, her thought processes laid bare as we watch her try and rationalise her drug use. There’s not much narrative drive but this slice of life is compelling and rings true.