2022 NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST
ONE OF THE LOS ANGELES TIMES' TOP 5 FICTION BOOKS OF THE YEAR
ONE OF TIME AND SLATE'S TOP 10 BOOKS OF THE YEAR
Named one of the BEST BOOKS OF 2022 by NPR, Vogue, Vulture, BuzzFeed, Harper's Bazaar, and more
“One of the buzziest, most human novels of the year…breathless, dizzying, and completely beautiful.” —Vogue
“Dazzling and wholly original...[written] with such mordant wit, insight, and specificity, it feels like watching a new literary star being born in real time.” —Entertainment Weekly
From a brilliant new voice comes an electrifying novel of a young immigrant building a life for herself—a warm, dazzling, and profound saga of queer love, friendship, work, and precarity in twenty-first century America
Graduating into the long maw of an American recession, Sneha is one of the fortunate ones. She’s moved to Milwaukee for an entry-level corporate job that, grueling as it may be, is the key that unlocks every door: she can pick up the tab at dinner with her new friend Tig, get her college buddy Thom hired alongside her, and send money to her parents back in India. She begins dating women—soon developing a burning crush on Marina, a beguiling and beautiful dancer who always seems just out of reach.
But before long, trouble arrives. Painful secrets rear their heads; jobs go off the rails; evictions loom. Sneha struggles to be truly close and open with anybody, even as her friendships deepen, even as she throws herself headlong into a dizzying romance with Marina. It’s then that Tig begins to draw up a radical solution to their problems, hoping to save them all.
A beautiful and capacious novel rendered in singular, unforgettable prose, All This Could Be Different is a wise, tender, and riveting group portrait of young people forging love and community amidst struggle, and a moving story of one immigrant’s journey to make her home in the world.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
This insightful novel shows that discovering who you are can be thrilling, joyful, and terrifying. Though she’s only 22, Sneha has been on her own since her parents were deported back to India when she was in high school. Since then, she’s kept others at a distance, but that all changes when she graduates college and moves to Milwaukee for her first real job. Now she has real friends and a real romantic relationship with an alluring woman named Marina, but when things at work take a turn, Sneha is forced to confront some difficult emotions. Sarah Thankam Mathews’ crisp prose makes every aspect of Sneha’s immigrant experience relatable. Honest and real but also light and readable, All This Could Be Different strikes just the right balance.
Mathews's poignant and illuminating debut centers on an aloof 22-year-old Indian immigrant whose first job out of college brings her to the Midwest to work as a consultant-in-training for a large manufacturer. Sneha, having been alone since her parents moved back to India when she was a teen, scours online dating apps for other queer women as soon as she arrives in Milwaukee. She quickly finds a friend in philosophy student Antigone Clay, then enters her first love affair with the charming Marina—an older white dancer. Their relationship forces Sneha to reckon with the trauma of her parents' abandonment and brings to the fore the difficulties she has experienced in the U.S. as a person of color. She also reconnects with old college friends Thomas and Amit, and she comes to rely on and grow with her new patched-together community, especially as her financial situation becomes precarious and her apartment's property manager threatens to get her kicked out over minor infractions. Mathews is most affecting when charting the wonders of community-building, delving into the strenuous work that goes into sustaining meaningful friendships as well as the heartbreak that ensues when connections are fractured by dishonesty. This thoughtful exploration of the legacies of trauma makes an impact. Agent: Bill Clegg, Clegg Agency.