Wednesday, 7 September 2016

#bookreview: One World Two: A second global anthology of #shortstories

One World Two: A Second Global Anthology of Short StoriesOne World Two: A Second Global Anthology of Short Stories by Aminatta Forna
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What do I think?

I think that this anthology is way more literary than I'm used to, and way more... coloured as well. The first of which turned out pretty well, considering, and the second of which was quite a deliberate choice. I mean, I did request this book for review solely because it purported to be one of those diverse books.

Diverse in this case, sounding rather black and tribal and refugeeish and war-torn. I am not sure why I expected otherwise. I suppose a pervasive theme in such stories is a sense of identity - who am I when I am not white? - which, I admit - is something I too struggle with. Maybe it's an identity of language. Who am I when I speak the white man's tongue but not my own? How do I exist in-between cultures, where the one I live in will never accept me fully, and the one I have left will never let me go? Am I doomed to always be an immigrant, even if I was born in this land?

There's a dream-like quality to most of these stories; something I've come to associate with literary pieces-presenting you a slice-of-life which is real life but not quite. They're gritty (as death and war and loss tends to be) and yet unreal, as if presented through a fog, a dream, or maybe just through the lenses of remembrance. And we know how unreliable our memories are. They betray us with our child-like innocence and surprise us with youthful resilience and tug at us with that longing just to know and be known.

Ethereal was the word I was looking for. Gritty and ethereal, both at once, as literary works are wont to be.

Note: I received a digital ARC of this book via Edelweiss for review purposes.

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