A woman who can’t swim wades into a suburban pool. An Indian family sits down to an Australian Christmas dinner. A single mother’s offer to coach her son’s soccer team leads to an unexpected encounter. A recent migrant considers taking the fall for a second generation ‘friend’. A wife refuses to let her husband look at her phone. An international student gets off a train at night.
Roanna Gonsalves’ short stories unearth the aspirations, ambivalence and guilt laced through the lives of 21st century immigrants, steering through clashes of cultures, trials of faith, and squalls of racism. Sometimes heart-wrenching, sometimes playful, they cut to the truth of what it means to be a modern outsider.
READ: Download the first story, ‘Full Face’, for free here via the UWAP website
The Permanent Resident is also available for purchase:
Australia, New Zealand, and overseas (international shipping from Australia)
- The UWAP website here.
- Abbey’s in Sydney
- Readings in Melbourne
- At all good bookshops online and across Australia and New Zealand
“Roanna Gonsalves’s The Permanent Resident is a fastidiously crafted collection of 16 short stories that take a hard look at the desire of Indians to migrate and the experience of settling in Australia. At once cerebral and visceral, the stories explore the fault lines of relationships deeply influenced by travelling beyond borders and calling a new place home…. A blend of subversion and compassion characterises the stories that unravel the Indian migrant experience. The tales also transcend borders by tackling universal themes of relationship failures and courage in the face of adversities. There is a great deal in the stories that will resonate with all readers.
…The Permanent Resident is no butter chicken. It is more like sorpotel, a full-bodied “curry”, a dish made from meat and offal, first cooked on the shipping route from Africa to India in Portuguese ships and which has a permanent place on the Goan menu. Gonsalves is a bold Indian-Australian voice that laudably claims a space in the Australian literary landscape.”
MEETA CHATTERJEE: The Weekend Australian, Book Review, 21 January 2017. http://www.theaustralian.com.au/arts/review/gonsalvess-permanent-resident-indian-migrant-experience-explored/news-story/fa78abc272208227ff048c486dc25e79
“In story after story Gonsalves emerges as the master of the original metaphor, the artist of analogy, so that the familiar becomes almost exotic, the cultural peculiarity becomes the quirkiness next door…Her points of reference are vast – the topography of Dubai, transplant surgery, societal niceties, Biblical references – everything is grist to her mill…She repeats the virtuoso literary performance again and again.”
CAROL ANDRADE, The Examiner, 22-28 April 2017
“Roanna Gonsalves writes like a minx, full of mischief….The author has this ability to convey something ruthless with much levity. Her text fools you, melts your eyes with a light touch that charms with its delicious syntax, as the text tackles rough topics like bullying, domestic violence, sleaze, anguish, murder … without alienating the reader…Gonsalves interplays language with text in a kind of literary writing that is both captivating and unsettling, perhaps what theorist and philosopher Roland Barthes had in mind when he wrote The pleasure of the text (1975).” EUGEN BACON, Bukker Tillibul, May 2017 http://bukkertillibul.net/Text.html?VOL=11&INDEX=0
“Gonsalves’s acute sense of paradox, her willingness to be playful and her outstanding ability to capture the moment with devastating bluntness is tempered with irony and understanding. With skill she motivates our affection and compassion for her characters, their dilemmas, their weaknesses and their efforts to demonstrate their success and superiority over their compatriots through flaunting their material possessions.”
SUZANNE MARKS, Newtown Review of Books, 31 January 2017 http://newtownreviewofbooks.com.au/2017/01/31/roanna-gonsalves-permanent-resident-reviewed-suzanne-marks/
“Gonsalves’s observations are particularly sharp, even wickedly brilliant, when she turns her gaze toward a community she is arguably familiar with…”
ANU KUMAR, Scroll.in Book Review https://scroll.in/article/824946/immigrant-fiction-about-indians-moves-to-australia-and-about-time-too
“The Permanent Resident comprises 16 stories which display Gonsalves’s immense range and sensitivity in negotiating the uneven contours of human relationships…Her felicity with language is one of the major strengths of the book…This is a reassuring debut of a very compassionate new voice.” KUNAL RAY, Biblio: A Review of Books, Jan-March 2017
“This is a book about craft. This is a book about imagination. Here you’ll meet people, young and old, who are searching for that solid ground beneath their feet in a new land. You’ll meet the aspiring class, the earnest young ones on the make, the nouveau rich, the determined and the desperate, the cool and the crushed, the classy and the crass. But most of all you’ll meet every one who is on that uncertain path to joy and human dignity, infused with hope and idealism and that ultimate human trait, to make something substantial out of the fibre of the human spirit.”
MRIDULA NATH CHAKRABORTHY: Deputy Director, Monash Asia Institute. Excerpt from Eltham Books In-Conversation.
50 GREAT READS BY AUSTRALIAN WOMEN IN 2016
“Many of her stories reminded me of Jhumpa Lahiri’s fiction about Indian migrants in the USA, but Gonsalves takes a more playful and humorous approach…In many ways Gonsalves’ stories demonstrate people’s lives in limbo – students and others who are wanting and waiting for the much-desired ‘permanent resident’ status. They talk about it and imagine how much better life could be. One story, ‘The Permanent Resident’ – the last in the collection – has a barb. A woman attends her weekly ‘swimming for adults’ lesson at a suburban pool. Until now she has been unable to put her head under the water. Her teacher greets her, asking if today will be ‘the day’, and in the short time before the lesson we learn more about her life, and how tragedy has changed her life despite her seemingly secure status. This book appeals to the hope we all have for a ‘better life’, no matter what form that takes.”
“ABBEY’S BOOKSELLER PICK —— Starting life in another country is the subject matter of Roanna Gonsalves short story collection titled The Permanent Resident. The thought-provoking stories here are of people facing the challenges of fitting in and being accepted in their new country as they try to do the things we all hope to do – get good jobs, form friendships, find love, start families. Some amusing, some poignant and offering cross-cultural insights on negotiating a new country, its potential and its potential threats. ”
“Indian-Australian Author Roanna Gonsalves explains “it’s extremely hard as an immigrant to do anything creative,” when the focus is on working hard and establishing yourself in a new country. It’s lucky for readers then that she’s “not a very good migrant!” as she launches her first book.”
“The stories also cleverly unveil the yawning chasm between the relationship of the old well settled Indian migrants and those who have arrived in the last decade. The pretensions and airs and graces that some well settled migrants give themselves and their intense efforts in getting Aussiefied are underscored in stories like “Full Face”. The alarming incidents of Domestic Violence in the community find a sharp voice in The Permanent Resident.”
“All the stories in The Permanent Resident offer the careful reader an opportunity to reflect and understand what it really means to be a migrant – when the seemingly obvious migrant experience could be the same experience of everyone who shares it….
This collection of stories is more a playful, thought-provoking reflection of what it means to be an Australian. In particular, in our post-multicultural world – where we take on a little bit of everything that we see, feel and experience – in a sense, the migrant experience is no longer confined to those who journey here, because the same experience can apply to those living here and trying to fit in.
The stories in The Permanent Resident are engaging and enjoyable. That they are stories about migrants is ephemeral to the overall experience. All Australians will find something that resonates within these pages.”
REVIEWS OF THE PERMANENT RESIDENT
- Roanna Gonsalves’ The Permanent Resident, review by Eugen Bacon, Bukker Tillibul, May 2017
- Probing Modes of Stability and Identity in The Permanent Resident, review by Sarah Biggerstaff, Her Canberra, 3 May 2017.
- Book Review: The Permanent Resident, review by Carol Andrade, The Examiner, April 22-28, 2017.
- Sara Savage Reviews The Permanent Resident by Roanna Gonsalves, review by Sara Savage, Australian Book Review, April 2017, no. 390.
- How Australian is Australian Enough?’, review by Yen-Rong Wong, The Lifted Brow, 24 March 2017.
- New Beginnings, review by Kunal Ray, Biblio: A Review of Books, Jan-March 2017
- The Permanent Resident: Roanna Gonsalves, review by Chetna Prakash, The Big Smoke, 11 February 2017.
- The Permanent Resident: Roanna Gonsalves, review by Angus Dalton, Good Reading Magazine, February 2017.
- Roanna Gonsalves The Permanent Resident, review by Suzanne Marks, The Newtown Review of Books, 31 January, 2017.
- Gonsalves’ Permanent Resident: Indian migrant experience explored, Review by Meeta Chatterjee, The Australian, 21 January 2017
- The Permanent Resident: Review, review by Savia Viegas in Free Press Journal, 8 Jan 2017.
- Immigrant fiction about Indians moves to Australia, and about time, too, review by Anu Kumar, Scroll.in, 24 December 2016.
- Reviews on goodreads.com
- ‘What it really means to be a migrant’, review by Salma Shah, Indian Link, 18 November 2016.
- ‘The Permanent Resident by Roanna Gonsalves‘, review by Annie Condon, Readings, 24 October 2016.
- The Permanent Resident review by Craig Kirchner, Abbey’s Bookshop, October 2016.
INTERVIEWS/MEDIA ABOUT THE PERMANENT RESIDENT
- Migrant identities, gender, and writing – Roanna Gonsalves, interview by Feminartsy, 3 May 2017.
- Untwisting your own tongue: An interview with Roanna Gonsalves, interviewed by Stephen Samuel, Verity La, 14 March 2017
- The Permanent Resident in the Grandmotherland, edited transcript of launch speech at the Goa Arts & Literature Festival, featured by Australian Women Writers Challenge, 25 February 2017
- Interview with Roanna Gonsalves, interview by Selma Carvalho, Joao Roque Literary Journal, 8 February 2017
- Interview with Australian author Roanna Gonsalves, interview wth Joy Hopwood, The Joy House, 7 January 2017
- Belonging is contextual, interview with Christine Machado, The Goan, 11 December 2016
- Australia needs more Goan voices, The Times of India, Goa, 11 December 2016
- A brown woman in a ‘white first world’, interview with Janice Rodrigues, Navhind Times, Goa, India, 10 December 2016
- Strangers in a strange land, The Goan Life, 10 December 2016
- Interview with Roanna Gonsalves, interview by Kate Evans, Books Plus and Books & Arts, ABC Radio National, 4 December 2016
- Interview with Roanna Gonsalves, interview by Jacqueline Maley, Sunday Afternoon, ABC Radio National, 4 December 2016
- Interview with Roanna Gonsalves, interview by Kumud Merani, SBS Hindi and English Radio, 18 November 2017