Lessons in Love and Other Crimes (eBook)


Elizabeth Chakrabarty

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SKU: 006850018010 Category:

288 pages
15 April 2021
ISBN 9781911648222
Cover design © House of Thought

Shortlisted for the Polari First Book Prize 2022 and longlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize 2022

Tesya has reasons to feel hopeful after leaving her last job, where she was subjected to a series of anonymous hate crimes. Now she is back home in London to start a new lecturing position, and has begun an exciting, if tumultuous, love affair with the enigmatic Holly. But this idyllic new start quickly sours.

Tesya finds herself victimized again at work by an unknown assailant, who subjects her to an insidious, sustained race hate crime. As her paranoia mounts, Tesya finds herself yearning for the most elemental desires: love, acceptance, and sanctuary. Her assailant, meanwhile, is recording his manifesto, and plotting his next steps.

Inspired by the author’s personal experiences of hate crime and bookended with essays which contextualise the story within a lifetime of microaggressions, Lessons in Love and Other Crimes is a heart-breaking, hopeful, and compulsively readable novel about the most quotidian of crimes.


‘One of the most gripping and powerful books I’ve ever read; I feel so represented as a queer, brown woman.’
Nikita Gill

‘A story you won’t be able to get out of your head.’

‘Fierce, contemporary and completely absorbing, Lessons in Love and Other Crimes is a fresh and forensic novel asking ages-old questions – what makes a writer? What makes a lover? And pressing for our moment now – what makes a racist? Part thriller, part elegy to modern British life, this novel will shock some readers while others will cheer as Elizabeth Chakrabarty ties the many threads of an everyday crime into an extraordinary lovers’ knot. Formally inventive and erotically charged, compassion and intelligence shine through every sentence Chakrabarty writes.’
Preti Taneja, author of We That Are Young

‘Gripping and unnerving, a story about the relentlessness of racism.’
Catherine Mayer

‘An important new voice for our troubled times. Vibrant and passionate storytelling.’
Tessa McWatt

‘A thoughtful exploration of everyday racist aggressions (both micro and more significant) — and the impact they can have on an individual’s personal and professional life.’
Winnie M Li

Lessons In Love and Other Crimes

I don’t know how it’s going to end. Even now I’m home here in London, it’s unfinished, so when I think about it even for a second I’m back there:the most unpleasant, humiliating, frightening experience I’ve ever had. I don’t know who was behind it, what they wanted. I don’t know whether they’re still out to get me.

I haven’t told anyone my absolute fear, can’t say it aloud: I’m frightened for my life. I thought being at home would make it go away, but it hasn’t. Fear follows me like a shadow. When I open doors, I go carefully, worrying who might be waiting there, what might happen next. When I hear footsteps behind me in the dark, I walk faster, clutching my mobile in my pocket, ready to dial the police once more. Then my heart beats faster and faster, like it’ll break through my skin, my body telling me I’m alive I’m alive, despite what’s out there, who’s out there.

Who’s out there? That’s still the question.

Waiting for whatever happens next, the unknown, curtail show I live. Early on I was told to be careful about revealing where I am, especially on social media. But that was going to be difficult: I’m a writer and performer, I have to publicize what I’m doing, events in public places.

The police officer said, ‘Well, just use it in a limited way, do what you have to do. Make sure friends know your whereabouts.’ Then, ‘Do you have a partner?’

‘Um, not at the moment.’

I understood why she asked, but my answer made me feel worse. I had been dating but nothing that had gone anywhere.

She asked the obvious question: ‘Is there anyone who might have a grudge against you, a colleague or an ex-partner?’

I’ve had my fair share of difficult relationship endings, but no one I know would treat me like this, at least I hope not. What’s happened has even tainted my memory of love, like love is a kind of mental illness.

I shook my head.

‘Are you sure?’

‘I’m not sure about anything at the moment. It’s difficult to trust people, but I can’t think of anyone I know who would do this.’

I wish I had someone, someone who makes me feel safe, to love and be loved by, but I don’t. I’m on my own. What’s happened has made meeting even beautiful strangers fraught. The idea that someone who has seen me around, probably spoken to me, could do that makes me wary of people even offering me a drink when I’m in a bar, or asking me out. But now friends say I have to get on with living, and love is what’s missing. Love might annihilate the memories. Perhaps.

Women Writers, Women ‘s Books, 24 October 2022: Excerpt

Mhari Aitchison for Dundee University Review of the Arts, 31 May 2021: Review: Lessons in Love and Other Crimes

Alys Keys for The i, 23 April 2021: Lessons in Love and Other Crimes by Elizabeth Chakrabarty, review: an innovative hybrid novel

Mariah Feria for Lunate, 17 April 2021: Lessons in Love and Other Crimes by Elizabeth Chakrabarty

This Is My Voice podcast, 12 March 2021: This Is My Voice: Elizabeth Chakrabarty

Farhana Shaikh for The Asian Writer, 8 February 2021: ‘Books to read in 2021’ 

Layla Haidrani for Cosmopolitan UK, 22 December 2020: ‘69 new books by Black and POC authors out in 2021′

This is an exclusive essay published by The Indigo Press

On closure and crime

When did you first realise you have white privilege? 

Elizabeth Chakrabarty

Exclusive to The Indigo Press, our authors have written moving, insightful and entertaining works in conjunction with and in celebration of the publication of their books with the press.

From passionate and polemic essays to compelling quizzes that reveal who you really are, read about everything from the #MeToo movement to the possibility of starting your life again.

Click here to read Elizabeth’s exclusive essay ‘On Closure and Crime’.

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