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Thursday, April 16, 2015

Ruby Iyer, the young angry girl speaks out. - Guest Post/Giveaway @RubyIyer

About the Book:

The Many Lives of Ruby Iyer
By: Laxmi Hariharan
Pages: 300
Release Date: November 13, 2014
Publisher: Books@Jacaranda

A YA action thriller, with strong dystopian undertones and a kick-ass protagonist, taking you on a white knuckle ride through a disintegrating Bombay City.

A terrifying encounter propels Ruby Iyer from her everyday commute into a battle for her own survival. Trusting her instincts, she fights for the things she believes in, led on a mysterious path between life and death on the crowded roads of Bombay; and when her best friend is kidnapped by the despotic Dr Braganza, she will do anything to rescue him. Anything, including taking the help of the sexy Vikram Roy, a cop-turned-rogue, on a mission to save Bombay. The city needs all the help it can get, and these two are the only thing standing between its total destruction by Dr Braganza's teen army. As Bombay falls apart, will Ruby be able to save her friend and the city?

Will she finally discover her place in a city where she has never managed to fit in? And what about her growing feelings for Vikram?
  Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon India | Paperback

Meet the Author:

A near life experience told Laxmi Hariharan to write. She never stopped.

Laxmi is the creator of Ruby Iyer, and the Amazon bestselling, eLit Gold winner The Destiny of Shaitan (Bombay Chronicles, 1). She has been a journalist with the Independent, and a global marketer with NBCU and MTV. Laxmi also blogs for Huffington Post, among others.

London is where she writes. Bombay is what fires her imagination. 

 Twitter - Laxmi | Facebook | blog | Twitter - Ruby 
Watch the Trailer:

Ruby Sale .99 & Diaries = Free:

Guest Post:

Why Ruby, the hero of a YA dystopian novel had to be an angry young Indian girl:

Laxmi Hariharan challenges the domination of dystopian western worlds in teen novels, why not a dystopian Asia or Latin America? And how it’s time for the stereotype-busting Angry Young (Indian) Girl to claim centre-stage.

  One evening, having worked late at the Mumbai-based newspaper where I was then employed, I caught the local train home. What I hadn’t realized was that it was already past the watershed time, when the ladies only compartment turned unisex. So there I was in a corner of that carriage, now crammed to the gills with men. When it was my turn to get off, I swallowed my stomach-churning fear to fight my way through the throng. I emerged onto the train platform with every part of me having been felt up, and promptly burst into tears. My clothes were torn but miraculously my handbag still remained clutched in my folded arms, though it had provided but a measly shield. This was one incident of the many that marked my growing years in the city.

The dreaded daily commute by local train to university equaled being brushed against and commented on by almost every man who crossed my path. And I knew I wasn’t alone in this.

 So, when 17 months ago a young photojournalist was raped in the heart of Mumbai in broad daylight, it made me furious. Technology had birthed Facebook and Twitter in the time I had been away from Mumbai, but meanwhile the city seemed to have only become more unsafe for girls.

I had this vision of a larger than life, magnificent, vigilante figure. A teenage girl who would simply follow her instincts, someone who would hit out first and think later. Who would teach those leering men a lesson.

Thus Ruby Iyer was born. I was helpless as a teenager coming of age in that metropolis. Ruby Iyer is not. She is not constrained by the everyday reality of Indian society, where walking down the street in a pair of jeans will invite unwanted attention. And where if you did stand up to your tormentors, you would probably pay the price.

I am subconsciously influenced by that most towering of personas who has ruled Bollywood over most of my adult life – the Angry Young Man avatar of Amitabh Bachchan, one of the most influential actors of Indian cinema and popular culture. But this is 2015 and a 24-year-old Jennifer Lawrence has just closed the last year as the highest-grossing actor in Hollywood, thanks in part to playing Katniss Everdeen. The time is now for the Angry Young (Indian) Girl to claim centre-stage.

Joining Ruby Iyer is Rhea, a journalist, an explorer and an all-round adventurer. She is the young hero of a new comic book series, The Adventures of Rhea. Then, there’s Tina M, the hero of Tina’s Mouth: An Existential Comic Diary, who begins keeping an existential diary as the result of an English honors class assignment. I must also mention Kamala Khan aka Ms Marvel, a teenage Pakistani American from New Jersey with shape shifting abilities, and Marvel Comics’ first Muslim character to headline her own comic book.

I am falling back on comic book characters rather than YA novels to illustrate my point, because I am unable to find other heroes of Asian or South Asian origin starring in their own YA dystopian novels. There are novels which talk about both the coming-of-age and immigrant experience from a South Asian teenager’s point of view. These include Born Confused by Tanuja Desai Hidier, Secret Keeper by Mitali Perkins, Skunk Girl by Sheba Karim, and Blue Boy by Rakesh Satyal. The YA South Asian genre is just coming into its own.

I read a lot of YA dystopia and have enjoyed the Divergent trilogy by Veronica Roth, Angelfall (Penryn and the End of Days series) by Susan Ee, and more recently the Dustlands trilogy by Moira Young. Many of these novels are set in a dystopian western world, often a culture springing from the remnants of a destroyed city such as Chicago, New York or San Francisco. I do wonder why so many of these stories are set in the West. What about Asia or Latin America?

As a writer from Mumbai, in my mind’s eye I see a rich, complex setting. I feel it in the contradictions of the daily struggle to survive by the millions in the urban bosom of this city; where each daybreak heralds the start of a merciless reality, and where at nightfall I give thanks for having survived the soul-busting competition for commercial success.

I hope that Ruby Iyer’s story – the journey of an Angry Young Indian girl, set in a dystopian Mumbai – will break a few stereotypes:
  • That you don’t have to be a sweet, demure, girl who toes the lines society tells you to, to get what you want.
  • That today does not only belong only to Angry Young Men.
  • That dystopian fiction need not be confined to the developed world.
  • That the hero of a YA novel is not always of non-Asian origin by default.

Laxmi Hariharan is the author of The Many Lives of Ruby Iyer and prequel The Ruby Iyer Diaries: A Bombay Story. The sequel, The Second Life of Ruby Iyer, will be released later this year.
*This article first premiered in THE GUARDIAN*


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