A profound meditation on race, inheritance, and queer mothering at the end of the world.


In a letter to her six-year-old daughter, Julietta Singh writes toward a tender vision of the world, offering children’s radical embrace of possibility as a model for how we might live. In order to survive looming political and ecological disasters, Singh urges, we must break from the conventions we have inherited and begin to orient ourselves toward more equitable and revolutionary paths.

The Breaks celebrates queer family-making, communal living, and Brown girlhood, complicating the stark binaries that shape contemporary US discourse. With nuance and generosity, Singh reveals the connections among the crises humanity faces—climate catastrophe, extractive capitalism, and the violent legacies of racism, patriarchy, and colonialism—inviting us to move through the breaks toward a tenable future.


Julietta Singh is a writer and academic whose work engages the enduring effects of colonization, current ecological crisis, and queer-feminist futures. She is the author of two previous books: No Archive Will Restore You (Punctum Books, 2018) and Unthinking Mastery: Dehumanism and Decolonial Entanglements (Duke University Press, 2018). She currently lives in Richmond, Virginia, with her family.


Praise for The Breaks

Literary Hub, “Most Anticipated Books of 2021”

“In a kind of spiritual successor to the genre-defying No Archive Will Restore You, Singh reveals the most intimate details of her life and politics. . . . She exquisitely links theory and poetics to her own fears, insecurities, and certainty that one day her child will need to break away from her. This is a stunning work.” Publishers Weekly, starred review

“Singh's clarity of thought, vulnerability, and passion for social justice all render this well-structured essay a pleasure to read. . . . Her anxieties, fears, and triumphs will resonate with parents of all identities and backgrounds.” —Kirkus

“The climate crisis, state-sanctioned racism, the long coils of colonialism . . . These are among just a few of the harsh realities Julietta Singh confronts in The Breaks, a book-length epistolary essay written to her 6-year-old daughter, that also interrogates what it means to be a queer, brown parent in contemporary America. But despite myriad catastrophes, both personal and political, Singh finds reasons for hope in the possibility of community.” —Jonny Diamond, Literary Hub

“This is a lens-shifting book. Julietta Singh’s meditation to her daughter is an immeasurable gift. It takes you into the experience of coming of age as a Brown girl who stands in the shadow of a society that fails to tell its whole truth and tries to hide its ugliness. With poignant, aching, beautiful and deeply loving prose, Singh brings Brown girls into the sun, and makes you want to change the ways of the world for our young people and for us all.” —Imani Perry

The Breaks: An Essay by Julietta Singh

  • Coffee House Press 2021

    New paperback

    168 pages