The Next Chapter

Durga Chew-Bose on examining what it means to be a daughter

Durga Chew-Bose discusses her essay collection Too Much and Not the Mood and how the personal collection of essays examine her life and identity.
Durga Chew-Bose is the author of the essay collection Too Much and Not the Mood. (Carrie Cheek/HarperCollins)

Montreal-born Durga Chew-Bose has been called a "leading voice in the millennial intelligentsia." Her debut book, the essay collection Too Much and Not the Mood, is a mixture of prose and poetry, and is a lingering examination of identity and the world around her.

On being a daughter

"I think my daughterhood is definitely linked to being the only daughter in our family, but I don't necessarily see them as totally linked. It's not just the breakdown of being a daughter in a family of parents and an older brother, but also being linked generationally to what came before me, where my parents are from, and wanting to continue their stories."       

On staying true to self

"I resist reacting to things in broad strokes. When I wanted to work on these essays I wanted to be careful to stay true to the voice in my head as opposed to the voice that might be louder — the voice on the internet. I think my essays are elaborate, but they're quiet in some ways. I try to honour how I see things. I appreciate an abundance of details as opposed to big picture stuff."

On the meaning of the title

"I took it from Virginia Woolf's A Writer's Diary, her entry on April 11th 1931. It's a very brief entry in her diary — she's having a moody day. She has a lot of deadlines and she doesn't feel like doing them, but she knows she has the capacity to do them. It was the last line in that entry. I underlined it, thinking it might be nice to use as the title for a collection of essays."

Durga Chew-Bose's comments have been edited and condensed