Click to see a wonderful interview with Sweta Srivastava Vikram.
Amazon Customer 5.0 out of 5 stars A Women's journey to rebuild herself. April 3, 2019 The main character Ahana has to overcome abuse and rebuild herself. As part of her journey, she meets two completely different men who enable her to grow and find her own power. One man is a friend that she has met on the internet. He is in her therapy group. It turns out that this man, Jay Dubois is deceitful and a taker. The other man, Rohan is completely opposite. Rohan is honest, generous and protective. Sweta does an amazing job in showing how Ahana is unconsciously drawn to an abuser like Jay. Later in the story, Ahana transforms and has to learn to accept Rohan's goodness. The author, Sweta shows us how important it is to find friends and family who can help us be our better selves.
The book is about Ahana, a 33-year-old grieving daughter and sexual abuse survivor from New Delhi who must summon the courage to run a feminist conference in New Orleans, trust a man she meets over the Internet, and escape a catfishing stalker to find her power.
Q&A with Sweta Srivastava Vikram
What inspired you to write Louisiana Catch? I write about identity, multiculturalism and women’s issues and how the different healing modalities can help. Louisiana Catch represents the frailty of human relationships and touches upon all of the above-mentioned themes. Honestly, breaking stereotypes surrounding South Asian stories was central to writing of this book. I got tired of others defining what Indian women look like, behave, do, or feel. I could not find stories of my generation and women like myself, so I created Ahana. Mind you, Ahana is nothing like me, emotionally or physically. But she does represent the conflict a section of modern Indian women, including myself face: successful and confident yet unsure and dominated in their own unique ways. Another reason I wrote Louisiana Catch: to raise awareness about survivors of sexual assault. I teach yoga to female survivors of rape and domestic violence. Every woman who shows up on the yoga mat in my class looks and behaves differently. How can we judge and criticize survivors or what they look like or what clothes they had on at the time of assault? How dare we assume that all survivors fit a certain socio-economic type! Lastly, I also wanted to highlight grief and vulnerability—how they can help reveal our strength and core.
How did you come up with the title? “Catfishing” is rampant. I have interviewed psychotherapists and psychologists who confirmed that many of their clients are in therapy because they got duped by someone they met online and fell in love, and sometimes even married them, without realizing this person had a whole other life. Also, both the male protagonist and male antagonist in the book are from Louisiana. The title Louisiana Catch symbolizes catfishing as well as the man whom the female protagonist, Ahana, eventually ‘catches’ as a partner—it’s revealed as the book progresses.
Why did you choose New Orleans as the setting? New Orleans (“NOLA”) is one of my favorite cities in the U.S., so I wanted to write about the magic of NOLA. More importantly, much like New Delhi, NOLA is known for its sweltering summers, legendary musicians, charming hospitality, rich heritage, tantalizing foods, and diverse culture. Setting the story in NOLA allowed me to draw a parallel between the cultures of the two cities—New Delhi too appears in the book—and show a thread of similar sensibility at the crux of it all. I wanted to build on that similarity, so I could draw a parallel between Ahana’s emotional experiences in the two cities.
Who should read this book? This book is for anyone interested in reading about real human relationships, social issues plaguing our world, a journey with identity, strong women, hybridization of cultures, the role of grief and healing in shaping our lives, and the impact of social media networking on all of these aspects. It has exciting plot twists, a romantic angle, and pertinent social messages.
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