“Where the Water Is” book manuscript

Anjoli’s book-length collection of creative nonfiction stories, titled “Where the Water Is,” is comprised of family narratives about growing up as an ambiguously brown Bengali and white girl in southern California, experiences of chronic illness, and the presence of ancestors in our lives despite boundaries of time and national borders. The text features a roots journey to India to recover the story of Kali Nath Roy, Anjoli’s great-grandfather, who was a freedom fighter at risk of being forgotten, and focuses on how and to what degree family narratives define us, what happens when we bury stories, and what happens when we dig them up. The collection also examines how the legacies of trauma—from colonization, imprisonment, emigration, participation in the US military, domestic violence, suicide, and racism—lodge in descendants’ psyches and bodies. The collection suggests that rebuilding familial connections through learning these stories may be the key to healing.

Submitted in December 2017 to the graduate division of the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of doctor of philosophy in English, this dissertation was chaired by S. Shankar. This dissertation committee included Professors Shawna Yang Ryan, Elizabeth Colwill, Cynthia G. Franklin, and Craig Howes.

For inquiries about the manuscript of “Where the Water Is,” contact Anjoli at anjoli [dot] roy [at] gmail [dot] com.



I. Telling Stories on You

Where the Water Is
Heads On
Gray Woman
What Babas Are For
Little Red BMW
Who Gets to Be American / Dad’ s Thirty Seconds of Fame

II. The Body’s Question

Heart Break Body
Bald Woman
The Folks Who’ll Come to Your Funeral
How the Universe Conspires
Birthing Ancestors
The Body’ s Question

III. Fatherland

First Scent
Dear Delhi
Love Letter to Kurseong
Mixed in India
The Only Copies We Have
Chasing Datta
Shadow Children
What Waits at Beadon Street
Everything I Know