We Are Speaking in Code explores difference and deviance in the everyday through the lenses of mental illness, queerness and migrant identity. Weaving personal anecdotes with reflections on trauma, psychology and contemporary relationships this collection of essays catalogues, reconsiders and unravels ideas of belonging, identity and the way we operate in the world.
Opening with a visit ‘home’ to Moscow where she speaks an alphabet-soup Russian, Vavilova tries to connect with her mother and grandmother. The titular essay starts one of the central conversations of the book; what does it mean to be a migrant whose identity is impossible in the land of their forebears and highly complicated in their home. Vavilova also tackles the millennial preoccupations of finding meaningful paid work, navigating dating in the tech age and the perils of building a living as an artist.
Bridging social, emotional and geographic distances, Vavilova’s essays look for ways to live on the edges, with grace, humour and lucid rage.