Another Appalachia: Coming Up Queer and Indian in a Mountain Place (Paperback)
“Commands your attention from the first page to the last word.” —Morgan Jerkins
“I’m glad this memoir exists . . . and I’m especially glad it’s so good.” —Vauhini Vara, New York Magazine
When Neema Avashia tells people where she’s from, their response is nearly always a disbelieving “There are Indian people in West Virginia?” A queer Asian American teacher and writer, Avashia fits few Appalachian stereotypes. But the lessons she learned in childhood about race and class, gender and sexuality continue to inform the way she moves through the world today: how she loves, how she teaches, how she advocates, how she struggles.
Another Appalachia examines both the roots and the resonance of Avashia’s identity as a queer desi Appalachian woman, while encouraging readers to envision more complex versions of both Appalachia and the nation as a whole. With lyric and narrative explorations of foodways, religion, sports, standards of beauty, social media, gun culture, and more, Another Appalachia mixes nostalgia and humor, sadness and sweetness, personal reflection and universal questions.
About the Author
Neema Avashia was born and raised in southern West Virginia to parents who immigrated to the United States. She has been a middle school teacher in the Boston Public Schools since 2003. Her essays have appeared in the Bitter Southerner, Catapult, Kenyon Review Online, and elsewhere.
“Another Appalachia is a breath of fresh air, a work that the public is in dire need of reading. Wide and expansive as the land the author calls home, this essay collection subverts the mainstream’s hyperfocus on white male-dominated narratives from rural America and commands your attention from the first page to the last word.”
Morgan Jerkins, author of This Will Be My Undoing: Living at the Intersection of Black, Female, and Feminist in (White) America and Caul Baby
“Neema Avashia, in this book, has named the unnamed, spoken the unspoken so that it does not become—to paraphrase Adrienne Rich—the unspeakable, and she has done so in language that is both lyrical and direct, both entertaining and edifying, both challenging and generous. I love this book and believe it introduces an important voice in America’s ongoing racial reckoning.”
Rahul Mehta, author of No Other World
“An essential text to add to the new canon of Appalachian writing—a compassionate and rigorous memoir of the author’s experience growing up as a queer Hindu child and teenager in a small community of West Virginian Indians. Another Appalachia is a bright and deeply empathetic portrait of a complicated place, a place that Neema Avashia allows to be multifaceted in the way it deserves.”
Anna Claire Weber, White Whale Bookstore
“I’m glad this memoir exists . . . and I’m especially glad it’s so good.”
Vauhini Vara, New York Magazine
“A graceful exploration of identity, community, and contradictions.”
“A timely collection that begins to fill the gap in literature focused mainly on the white male experience.”
“Evocative and thought-provoking.”
“Compelling and refreshing. . . . Appalachia needs more people like Neema Avashia.”
“Readers may be Indian, Appalachian, and queer or they may be some or none of these things. No matter—Avashia’s beautifully rendered prose contains insights to which everyone can relate.”
Still: The Journal
“This book gave me such tenderness toward a place that parsing my thoughts about it was like scooping up tadpoles with my bare hands.”
Pittsburgh Institute for Nonprofit Journalism