The Subtweet is one of those books that makes you pause and think. It is a thoughtful look at the music industry, social media, and friendship. For its themes alone, I would recommend The Subtweet to anyone who wants to read about the ways social media has impacted art. Keep reading this book review to find out what I thought of these themes!
Everyone talks about falling in love, but falling in friendship can be just as captivating. When Neela Devaki’s song is covered by internet-famous artist Rukmini, the two musicians meet and a transformative friendship begins.
But as Rukmini’s star rises and Neela’s stagnates, jealousy and self-doubt creep in. With a single tweet, their friendship implodes, one career is destroyed, and the two women find themselves at the center of an internet firestorm.
Celebrated multidisciplinary artist Vivek Shraya’s second novel is a stirring examination of making art in the modern era, a love letter to brown women, an authentic glimpse into the music industry, and a nuanced exploration of the promise and peril of being seen.
(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
I was initially drawn to The Subtweet for its promise of diversity, but what ended up hooking me was its thoughtful discussion about social media and the music industry. In these ages of digital influencing, social media, activism, and speaking out, The Subtweet examines the intersection of fame, music, and activism. It opened up spaces in my mind for me to think about the nature of a subtweet. What does it mean for me and for what do I use a subtweet? Is it an act of a subtle call out? Passive aggression? The Subtweet asks these questions and more by examining our two POC characters relationships with culture.
What is original art nowadays with remixes, cover songs, and even song sampling? The Subtweet brings theses issues to the surface and allows readers to witness how they play out for Neela and Rukmini. Their relationships to each other, fame, and their art. Friendships are complex before you add cooperation and fame to the mix. There are moments of jealousy and support all wrapped into one. We wonder if our reactions become subtweets – all without the presence of the internet. Are we just engaged in performance without substance?
The Subtweet is both thoughtful and action packed both online and IRL. We wonder about the role of authenticity and honesty in our interactions. As a creator of book reviews and content, questions of pandering to dominant audiences and in white dominated spaces has been something I’ve been thinking about more and more. The way my identity changes how active, or inactive, I can be. How I talk about diversity and identity and activism when there is more speculation and criticism directed at me.