Preti Taneja

Aftermath

Usman Khan was convicted of terrorism-related offenses at age 20, and sent to high-security prison. He was released eight years later, and allowed to travel to London for one day, to attend an event marking the fifth anniversary of a prison education programme he participated in. On November 29, 2019, he sat with others at Fishmongers’ Hall, some of whom he knew. Then he went to the restroom to retrieve the things he had hidden there: a fake bomb vest and two knives, which he taped to his wrists. That day, he killed two people: Saskia Jones and Jack Merritt.

Preti Taneja taught fiction writing in prison for three years. Merritt oversaw her program; Khan was one of her students. ‘It is the immediate aftermath,’ Taneja writes. ‘“I am living at the centre of a wound still fresh.” The I is not only mine. It belongs to many.’

In this searching lament by the award-winning author of We That Are Young, Taneja interrogates the language of terror, trauma and grief; the fictions we believe and the voices we exclude. Contending with the pain of unspeakable loss set against public tragedy, she draws on history, memory, and powerful poetic predecessors to reckon with the systemic nature of atrocity. Blurring genre and form, Aftermath is a profound attempt to regain trust after violence and to recapture a politics of hope through a determined dream of abolition.

Paperback: £12.00
EBook: £6.99
Author: Preti Taneja
Format: B-format paperback
Publication date: 7 April 2022
ISBN: 9781913505462
Ebook ISBN: 9781913505479

Reviews


Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

Stunning... [Taneja] turns a critical lens toward the way language shapes violence, suggesting that “power tells a story to sustain itself, it has no empathy for those it harms.” This poetic, urgent, and self-reflective work will delight fans of Valeria Luiselli’s Tell Me How It Ends and Claudia Rankine’s Citizen.’

Maureen Freely

‘With We That Are Young, Preti Taneja established herself as one of the most courageous and lyrically gifted writers of her generation.  Here again she offers living proof that great literature does not rise fully formed from the canon. It begins, rather, with the anguished sifting of its fragments in the aftermath of tragedy, and a grasping in the dark for voices worthy of trust, until its urgent call for equality and dignity comes true – first on the page, and then in the hearts and minds of all who read it.’  

Jeff Deutsch, Seminary Co-op

‘A masterpiece of nuance, vulnerability, truth, conviction, and near-sacred prose – a profound accomplishment.’