Are You Borg Now?
Author: Said Shaiye
Publisher: Really Serious Literature (2021)
"You gotta find reflections of yourself however you can to survive this country," writes Said Shaiye in this innovative AF (Afrofuturist) memoir. Are You Borg Now cyphers with trauma through a poetics of refusal via hard and beautiful language. Finding vigor in Islam and mirrors in Star Trek: Voyager, Shaiye shifts achingly between memory and improvisation. This is a serious debut."
"Are You Borg now? heralds the arrival of a bold and important voice. Shaiye's deeply personal self-interrogation blurs genre and form to examine how intersections between culture, race, class, gender and nationality shape one's identity. Vulnerable, affecting, humorous and haunting, so often I clutched my chest and nodded in agreement to Shaiye's keen observations. The reflections collected in these pages will benefit all who read this book."
"Why should one write? This is the question that pervades Said Shaiye's experimental approach to memoir in Are You Borg Now? This book offers many different kinds of answers to such a question, answers that involve facing the effects of trauma and violence with courage, honesty, and a willingness to risk vulnerability. One reason to write is to call forth a voice in solidarity with others who suffer. Shaiye is a writer who transforms the pain of alienation into beautifully lyric writing and from that writing springs a profound faith that one is never really alone."
"This book cut me as it wowed me. Shaiye can't help it. He invites you in. But he doesn't want you there. He doesn't want to be there himself, but needs to be. On every page, I found a reflection of an America that sickens and alienates with its easy fast food and easy pop culture. But then, Shaiye recognizes quality, too. And you recognize yourself in it even as you gain Shaiye's very particular viewpoint. Every page you find Shaiye struggling to be okay, to be good, to both honor his culture and struggle to move it forward towards health. This is an honorable project. This is a courageous project. This is the Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man."