For such a small girl, this dignified-sounding name was certainly somewhat startling. But even more surprising was her temperament. Until something was broken, she did not believe in fixing it. For one, at such a young age, she took care of a couple of children as if she were a mother. And, on top of that, as a bonus, her mother would beat her up. Being the oldest might have many advantages but, in Chandangauri’s share, there had only been disadvantages. Her mother always gave her the last and the smallest portion of food. It was good that Chandan was second to none. So, when Ma wandered away, Chandan would force a bit out of everyone else’s portions by yelling at someone, or making another cry, or threatening another sibling. Otherwise, the poor one would have been mired in misfortune. 

The prominent Afghan-American writer Jamil Jan Kochai, author of 99 Nights in Logar, is also well-known for his stories published in magazines and journals like The New Yorker, Ploughshares, and Zoetrope. Now some of these have been compiled in The Haunting of Hajji Hotak and Other Stories, bringing them and others together in one collection. Kochai’s writing is graceful all while tackling subjects like war and occupation and how families suffer from them, both in Afghanistan and overseas.

The most substantial selection in English of short stories by Dhumketu, a pioneer of the short story form in Gujarati literature, is brought together in this new translation by Jenny Bhatt. Dhumketu, the pen-name of Gaurishankar Govardhanram Joshi, was a prolific writer in the first half of the 20th century, producing 500 short stories, over 35 novels and several plays. He also published travelogues, essays, translations and literary criticism.  

One of Korea’s most renowned 20th century authors, Pak Kyongni often wrote stories set in the aftermath of the war and during the several military dictatorships. Pak passed away in 2008, but her work has been revived in English with a recent collection in translation, The Age of Doubt. These seven stories are all set in the 1950s and ’60s, a far cry from the glitz and glamor of modern-day Seoul. Each of the seven stories, furthermore, is translated by a different translator. While the stories differ, and not just in translator, a similar sense of darkness pervades all of them.

Home is an overarching theme in May-Lee Chai’s engaging new collection, Tomorrow in Shanghai and Other Stories, as she covers ground from China to the United States to a science fiction land beyond Earth. Some stories overlap when it comes to the characters and others when it comes to places; together they comprise an interlocking array of what it means to have a home.

In the seventeen stories that make up Made in Hawaii, Cedric Yamanaka celebrates the different cultures in Hawaii that mix and mingle, sometimes in harmony and sometimes not. The stories are mostly dark, far from the vacation paradise and the beaches, luaus, volcano tours, and perhaps a visit to the Pearl Harbor National Memorial that attract holiday-makers. This is not the Hawaii advertised on travel brochures.