Chrysalis

Chrysalis

Written by: Varghese, Anuja

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Genre-blending stories of transformation and belonging that centre women of colour and explore queerness, family, and community.

A couple in a crumbling marriage faces divine intervention. A woman dies in her dreams again and again until she finds salvation in an unexpected source. A teenage misfit discovers a darkness lurking just beyond the borders of her suburban home. The stories in Chrysalis, Anuja Varghese’s debut collection, are by turns poignant and chilling, blurring the lines between the monstrous and the mundane. 

Poetic, sensual, and surreal, Varghese’s stories delve into complex intersections of family, community, sexuality, and cultural expectation through an unapologetically feminist lens. Drawing on folklore, fairy tale, and magical realism, they take aim at the ways in which racialized women are robbed of power and revel in the strange and dangerous journeys they undertake to reclaim it.

Genre-blending stories of transformation and belonging that centre women of colour and explore queerness, family, and community.

A couple in a crumbling marriage faces divine intervention. A woman dies in her dreams again and again until she finds salvation in an unexpected source. A teenage misfit discovers a darkness lurking just beyond the borders of her suburban home. The stories in Chrysalis, Anuja Varghese’s debut collection, are by turns poignant and chilling, blurring the lines between the monstrous and the mundane. 

Poetic, sensual, and surreal, Varghese’s stories delve into complex intersections of family, community, sexuality, and cultural expectation through an unapologetically feminist lens. Drawing on folklore, fairy tale, and magical realism, they take aim at the ways in which racialized women are robbed of power and revel in the strange and dangerous journeys they undertake to reclaim it.

Published By House of Anansi Press Inc — Mar 14, 2023
Specifications 208 pages | 5.5 in x 7 in
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Excerpt
Written By

ANUJA VARGHESE is is a Pushcart-nominated writer whose work appears in Hobart, the Malahat Review, the Fiddlehead, Plenitude Magazine, Southern Humanities Review, So to Speak Journal, Flock Literary Journal, and Corvid Queen: A Journal of Feminist Fairy Tales, among others. Her work has been recognized in the PRISM International Short Fiction Contest, the Pigeon Pages Fiction Contest, and the Alice Munro Festival Short Story Competition. She writes literary fiction, speculative fiction, and erotica/romance — and combinations of all three — where women of colour get leading roles. Her stories appear in the BIPOC gothic anthology When Other People Saw Us, They Saw the Dead and queer horror anthology Queer Little Nightmares. Anuja is a professional grant writer, book reviewer, and fiction editor with The Ex-Puritan Magazine. She lives in Hamilton, Ontario, with her partner, two cats, and two kids. Chrysalis is her first book.

Written By

ANUJA VARGHESE is is a Pushcart-nominated writer whose work appears in Hobart, the Malahat Review, the Fiddlehead, Plenitude Magazine, Southern Humanities Review, So to Speak Journal, Flock Literary Journal, and Corvid Queen: A Journal of Feminist Fairy Tales, among others. Her work has been recognized in the PRISM International Short Fiction Contest, the Pigeon Pages Fiction Contest, and the Alice Munro Festival Short Story Competition. She writes literary fiction, speculative fiction, and erotica/romance — and combinations of all three — where women of colour get leading roles. Her stories appear in the BIPOC gothic anthology When Other People Saw Us, They Saw the Dead and queer horror anthology Queer Little Nightmares. Anuja is a professional grant writer, book reviewer, and fiction editor with The Ex-Puritan Magazine. She lives in Hamilton, Ontario, with her partner, two cats, and two kids. Chrysalis is her first book.


In these delicate, slice-of-life stories, Anuja Varghese plumbs the depths of wonder in our ordinary and not-so-ordinary lives. Chrysalis is that rarest of books — a collection where the meaning of words shift and change even as you read them, rolling out a cornucopia of treasures. What a magical, wondrous book!

” —Amanda Leduc, author of The Centaur’s Wife

Chrysalis is a provocative, taut collection, depicting women of colour who have reached the very edge of their limits. Anuja Varghese writes with surreal, urgent, sensual prose, mixing folklore and myth with the modern world. Every story is a surprise.

” —Shashi Bhat, author of The Most Precious Substance on Earth

This genre-bending collection defies expectations and brims with danger, desire, and the pleasures of storytelling. Anuja Varghese’s surreal stories will take you places you'll never expect.

” —Saleema Nawaz, author of Songs for the End of the World

Anuja Varghese’s stories are cheekily feminist and textured, her characters unapologetically monstrous and ordinary. I loved how many of the stories begin with deceptive quiescence and then twist into the surreal and subversive. Chrysalis was a joy to read!

” —Farzana Doctor, Lambda Literary Award–winner and author of Seven

Ruthless in its quest to leave readers both sweetly satisfied and ravenous for more, Chrysalis disintegrates genre barriers with some of the most haunting, delicious, and emotionally resonant language I have ever read. This is the short story in all its craft mastery. Anuja Varghese is about to become a household name.

” —Sydney Hegele, author of The Pump