Trauma: A Collection of Short Stories
by Elizabeth Jaikaran
FINALIST in the Women's Issues Category
A collection of true and extraordinary stories that speak of the abuse suffered by Guyanese women, girls, and members of the LGBT community both in their native country and after having emigrated to the United States. Through carefully crafted prose and poetic undertones, the author, Elizabeth Jaikaran, reveals accounts of the horrific violence and trauma through the lens of Guyanese culture and history. Along with these stories are points of fact, gathered from newspapers, agency studies, and governmental records, that illustrate the far-reaching existence and impact of violence and strict cultural norms. Also on display in these stories is the strength and resilience of Guyanese women as they have struggled to survive and flourish. This story of a small and often overlooked culture has needed to be told, and Jaikaran tells it with amazing courage and grace.
FAMILY & RELATIONSHIPS / Abuse / General
ISBN: 978-1-941830-42-0 (print; softcover; perfect bound)
Elizabeth Jaikaran was born in Brooklyn, raised in Queens, and currently resides on Long Island with her husband. She graduated from the CUNY City College of New York in 2012 and from New York University School of Law in 2016. She has written for numerous platforms, most prevalently for Brown Girl magazine, and has published along a spectrum of genres, from legal analysis to comedy. As an author and a lawyer, Jaikaran hopes to be a voice for communities residing in underrepresented margins. She is the proud child of Guyanese immigrants.
“Elizabeth Jaikaran was a student in our NYU Law Seminar, 'Resisting Injustice,' and submitted these extraordinary stories as her final paper, along with non-fiction documentation for each. The voices in these astonishing stories each deal with the very difficult dimensions of women’s experiences in post-colonial cultures, including both trauma and resistance. Jaikaran is an artist and a truth-teller, and these stories are both moving and revelatory.”
"Elizabeth Jaikaran’s Trauma is the first and only compilation of stories to detail the 'taboo' distress that surrounds Guyanese women living within the rooted and uprooted culture of what is Guyana. There is literally no other book that compares, as this is a culture that is largely unknown and often overlooked.
"Trauma forces the reader to understand the layers of patriarchy, colonialism, and strength endured by Guyanese women time and time again, in and out of their home country, exposing a culture that has gone under the radar for far too long. As important as this is, Trauma’s greatest triumph, however, exists in the truth and honesty of the writing, which is grounded in strong prose that often breaks into poetry in its most powerful moments. The tales of these women and their extraordinary emotional undertakings with little to no resources, support and, in some cases, hope, reveal that, despite the tragedies each woman suffers, there is a certain resilience that only trauma can create.
"These are the hushed stories that we’d hear our elders speak of, but instead of brushing them away, Trauma makes it clear that these stories will no longer be overlooked the way they have been in the past.
"Jaikaran goes where no other writer in this cultural community has gone before. She brings the beautiful country of her foreparents to the reader, along with its hard cut and unforgiving realities.
"It is the fearless nature of this collection that makes it a must read, but more honestly, Trauma is a victory for all of the women whose stories have been constantly silenced. Finally we can hear you."
—Brown Girl magazine
"'Your body is a hate crime.' Jaikaran’s explosive beginning to the tale of Pansy in Trauma: A Collection of Short Stories drops you into the beating heart of the real women whose lives she is recounting. With her bold narrative prose, she breathes life into extraordinary stories of women who are too often buried under the wreckage of the unspeakable difficulties, oppression, and abuse they have faced. Jaikaran captures their fire and fortitude amidst a cultural backdrop few can imagine and does so with a stunning first person narrative account. At the end of each chapter she also provides some much needed historical and cultural context regarding domestic abuse, slavery, immigration, and the trials of post-colonial life. It is storytelling at its finest, made better by the knowledge that these are not just characters on a page, but women in the author's life who have shaped her into who she has become today."
Stories of Abuse, Trauma, and Guyanese Culture Told with Amazing Courage and Grace (press release, 6-28-2017)
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