Shaila’s Prison Blues (Richard Bethell, Canada) 2:59
The protagonist in The Virgin Birth of Sharks is Rani, a Toronto street-kid.
Judging by her appearance and her first name it’s likely that Rani’s at least partly East Indian, but that’s just a guess. She knows almost nothing about her own origins, only that she was born to a woman she never met named Shaila Perreira, who at the time was incarcerated in Canada’s infamous Prison for Women.
In the course of the story, Rani learns an inexplicable fact about her birth: her mother hadn’t had contact with a man for years before she became pregnant with Rani–not with visitors and not with staff. And in the tightly controlled prison environment, there was no one else.
Shaila almost certainly wasn’t a literal virgin, but at least in this one sense Rani was the product of something resembling a virgin birth.
In Journey to the End of the Night, Louis-Ferdinand Céline wrote “you can be a virgin in horror the same as in sex.” This book deals with a few types of virginity–some sexual and some not, some human and some shark. Shaila’s sexless conception of her daughter is just one of them.
The track Shaila’s Prison Blues has nothing to do with Shaila’s ethnicity and everything to do with her having been in prison–after all, what music could be more appropriate to prison than the blues?
It features the talents of the marvellous Richard Bethell, also known as Admiral Bob, a native of Ottawa and one of the standout musicians on ccMixter.org.
I also used an excerpt from this track in the book’s video trailer, embedded below.
This track is released under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.
Shaila’s Prison Blues is a track originally titled Slinky Blues by Richard Bethell (home page), which can be found here. It was released under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.