Cultural conventions provoke Pasha Malla's Fugue States

Pasha Malla says the relationships men have with those around them are often based on “false narratives”. Pasha Malla believes that men need new templates. Decency requires more than “being caring people outside of our [own] relationships,” he says. “That’s not enough.” Questions on masculine identity figure in his recently released sophomore novel, Fugue States . Influenced by Don Quixote and television sitcoms, it upends archetypes while tracking 30-something Ash Dhar, a Toronto author turned radio host, and Matt, his childhood best friend, who reinserts himself in Ash’s life following the death of Ash’s father. An acclaimed writer of fiction, criticism, and verse, Malla, 39, wanted to look at “accepted scripts that exist—socially, culturally—in terms of not just masculinity, but racial and cultural identity for writers and artists, for relationships between men and women, for family relationships, for caregiving relationships. “The book,” he says to the Straight from Ontario’s cottage country, “is really set around this idea that these kinds of expectations and scripts that exist are based in false narratives, or at least very reductive narratives.” Ash’s discovery of an unfinished manuscript in his father’s Quebec residence, a tale possibly set in Kashmir, the elder Dhar’s homeland, inadvertently […]

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