Dreaming big, together with their friend Jules they come up with a revolutionary idea: to build a social networking app that could bring meaning to millions of lives. While Asha creates an ingenious algorithm, Cyrus’s charismatic appeal throws him into the spotlight.
When the app explodes into the next big thing, Asha should be happy, shouldn’t she? But why does she feel invisible in the boardroom of her own company? Why are decisions being made without her?
I find there are plenty of books categorised under women’s fiction but nowhere near enough under women in STEM and an even smaller percentage around women in tech.
Tahmima Anam’s gripping novel is a step in the right direction with a female protagonist traversing the roads of startups and partnerships, navigating patriarchy, while keeping to her feminist ideals.
Asha is confident she can transform Cyrus’s idea of reinventing faith and spirituality into an app that connects people. Using a vague seed of thought, she creates a social networking platform that rises above religion and offers people rituals derived from experiences they enjoy.
Though Cyrus isn’t convinced, Asha and Jules begin development and eventually manage to rope him in, making him the face of their product.
Where Anam catches your attention is in portraying the balance of Asha’s professional and personal life. Asha finds no challenges as she believes she and Cyrus are in a mutually beneficial partnership at both home and work. And yet, the reader begins to notice how Asha has convinced herself of a false truth.
It wasn’t your fault, Cyrus, it was mine. I bigged you up and smalled me down. I shone the light on you. I carried the water and let you drink.
From being a disbeliever, the app’s success shifts the base of power to Cyrus and he soon starts making isolated decisions. Asha now finds herself caught between love and career and is forced to re-evaluate their purpose in light of their responsibility to the community and to humanity.
Through Asha, Anam explores women’s ambition in the face of love, marriage, gender, race, colour, power, faith and religion. The question remains, when you’ve already given up your rights voluntarily, is it at all possible to fight to win them back?
A thoughtful insight into the eternal dilemma of whether women can have it all, you will find yourself wholly engaged with this geeky narrative bursting with feminism.
Book 31 of 2021.
Aquamarine Flavours Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟.
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