Belonging and inclusion are the themes which bind together this offering of short stories and poems from The Whole Kahani, a collective of award-winning female writers of British-Asian origin. The preface, written by Preti Taneja, acclaimed author of We That Are Young, outlines the mission statement of the collective, whose name translates as “the full story”.
This collection of short stories presents the grim reality of war-torn Manchuria in the 1930s. Despite the extreme poverty and brutality depicted, such is the skill of author Kang Kyeong-ae that her oppressed characters achieve a kind of nobility, at least in art if not in life.
This ultimately uplifting tale of perseverance in the face of love and loss begins in the suburbs of an unnamed city in contemporary South Korea. Tragedy strikes when the father of sisters Nana and Sora is killed in a factory accidents. The compensation money is sequestered by their relatives, forcing the now impoverished sisters and their mother, Aeja, out of their house and their former lives.
Sex and death, the twin yet conflicting human compulsions identified by Freud, abound in this vivid and sensual epic of love and loss set against the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s.
There is much more than the average “Asian expatriate in the US” story to be found in the debut novel by Elaine Castillo. America Is Not the Heart offers some genuine insights into love, life and what constitutes a home as well as an absorbing family saga set between the Philippines and the Bay area of San Francisco.
Like its title, this third novel by Peter Kimani waltzes between decades and characters to form a memorable family drama set against radical social changes in pre-independence Kenya.
There is nostalgia for a gentler time as well as bloody depictions of real-life historical events in this genre-crossing work by author and publishing stalwart Ashok Chopra.