Mariner Books Publishes 'Circa' by Alumna Devi S. Laskar's '96

Circa, recently published by Mariner Books, is the second novel from alumna Devi S. Laskar ’96.

Jessie Shohfi
September 28, 2022

Circa, recently published by Mariner Books, is the second novel from alumna Devi S. Laskar ’96. Her first novel, The Atlas of Reds and Blues (Counterpoint), won the Asian/Pacific American Award and the Crook’s Corner Book Prize and was named a finalist for the Northern California Book Awards. 

In her sophomore novel, Laskar tells the heart-wrenching story of Heera, a young Indian-American woman who must grapple with familial expectations in the wake of tragedy. Beginning with Heera’s wild and carefree youth–which ends violently with an unexpected and unspeakable loss–and following her into a complicated adulthood, Circa charts Heera’s course as she attempts to build a life for herself when everything she imagined for her future is lost. A compelling love story, the novel also examines how a daughter of immigrants must reconcile her present with her parents’ past, taking a close look at the lives we inherit and the lives we make for ourselves.

Circa has received national attention, with The Washington Post selecting it as one of the Ten Noteworthy Books of the Month, saying, “Laskar skillfully portrays the burden of loss and longing in lives defined by trauma.” The novel was also selected by Goop as their monthly Book Club pick. 

In an interview with the Los Angeles Daily News, Laskar spoke about her decision to center loss in her novel, saying, “The story I want to communicate is that you can miss someone and there are different ways people disappear, but you can work through your grief and come out the other side. It feels topical now because even if we don’t know someone who passed away during the pandemic, we know someone who knows someone who did. I wanted to tell a story that was hopeful about there being a way to get through the loss.” 

Laskar expanded upon this thought in a recent essay published by Electric Literature, where she reveals that the novel was mainly inspired by the devastating loss of a close friend. Writing Circa, she says, helped her to realize it was “time to release all the contradictions and remember [my friend] with love.”

Circa is available for purchase here