All This Could Be Different

I picked up this book as it was a 2022 National Book Award Finalist and I had seen it highly recommended all over the place and compared to (a queer version of) Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow. The writing is beautiful, at times it is funny, but at other times it is very hard to read and upsetting. It starts as a love story and becomes a story about friendship and community. Our protagonist, Sneha, graduates college into the Obama era recession. She is queer, Indian, and holding a lot of family secrets. She manages to get an entry-level consulting job where she is earning enough money to send money back to her family. She makes a new friend Tig via a dating app. She dates… eventually meeting and falling for a beautiful dancer called Marina. All the while, despite desperately craving closeness she keeps everyone at arms length… and her family life separate from her personal life (even going so far to tell Marina that her very much alive parents are dead). When things go belly up (her boss stops paying her, her friends are laid off, she must move out of her apartment), the book grows tender as Sneha and her friend group become the glue that holds each other together. This book is really sad at times (I found the last few pages particularly heartbreaking) but it’s extremely touching. My biggest takeaway from it is that no matter how hard things get, they’ll always be okay if you have your friends and people to lean on.

Author: Sarah Thankam Matthews