OFF THE YOGA MAT explores jealousy, bends of the body, and traumatic memory. Set in New York City, Finland, and New Orleans, the novel takes readers on a rollicking journey towards love and grace.
OFF THE YOGA MAT follows three characters approaching 40 on a rollicking journey of love, transformation, and jealousy as Y2K approaches. Nate, a graduate student researching jealousy in Darwin and Shakespeare, denies he ever experiences that emotion. In shielding himself from disappointment, he almost misses out on a scintillating romance. After she breaks up with Nate, Nora, fueled by the desire to have a baby, takes a temporary job at Nokia in Finland. She sweats in the sauna, tries on men like miniskirts, and embraces the Finnish concept of sisu: perseverance despite setbacks.
Nate’s yoga teacher, Lulu, yearns to get to the bottom of her nightmares of childhood abuse. An experiment concocted by Nate’s friends to test his ability to withstand jealousy pushes him into a steamy tryst with Lulu. While she aids her ailing mother in New Orleans, Lulu meets a woman who helps her confront her violent past. After they become lovers, Nate (jealous this time) reconnects with Nora at a wedding. Their boozy nostalgic reunion complicates everything.
Cheryl J. Fish is a poet, fiction writer and environmental humanities scholar. Her recent books of poetry include Crater & Tower, on trauma and ecology after the Mount St. Helens volcanic eruption and the terrorist attack of 9/11/01, and The Sauna Is Full Of Maids, poems and photographs celebrating Finnish sauna culture, the natural world, and friendships. She has been a Fulbright Professor and she teaches at City University of New York.