America Calling: A Foreign Student in a Country of Possibility, Rajika Bhandari (She Writes Press, September 2021)
America Calling: A Foreign Student in a Country of Possibility, Rajika Bhandari (She Writes Press, September 2021)

Growing up in India, Rajika Bhandari has seen generations of her family look westward, where an American education means status and success. But she resists the lure of America because those who leave never seem to return; they become flies trapped in honey in a land of opportunity. As a young woman, however, she follows her heart and a relationship—and finds herself heading to a US university to study. As she works her way through America’s tangled web of immigration, Bhandari lands in a job that immerses her in the lives of international students from over 200 countries and the universities that attract them.

To his California high school classmates, Arsalan Nizami seems like an eighty year-old trapped in a seventeen year-old’s body and it’s not without reason. His mother died in a car accident some years back, his grandparents are no longer living, and his alcoholic father has moved to another state. Yet Arsalan has one living relative who is more than capable of taking care of him: his one hundred year-old great-grandfather, Nana. In Sway With Me, Syed M Masood’s new young adult novel, Arsalan is worried about his future after Nana is no longer around and takes his mother’s dying wish literally: to find love before Nana passes away.

Belonging—either to another person, a family or a nation—is the key theme of this exquisite coming-of-age novel from British-Asian writer Selma Carvalho. Carvalho has published three non-fiction books which document the Goan migration to colonial East Africa. Her intimate understanding of the diasporic experience shines through every page as she explores her characters’ search for “home”.

Lyn Innes, Emeritus Professor of Postcolonial Literatures at the University of Kent, is the great-granddaughter of the last Nawab of Bengal, Mansour Ali Khan. In this family memoir, she vividly brings the period to life through the stories of her antecedents, using both family history and source materials from the time, while giving a fascinating insight into the British Raj in India from the perspective of a local prince who was mistreated, and ultimately deposed, by the British authorities.

At the start of Ira Sukrungruang’s new book, This Jade World, he’s about to meet a new woman in a hotel room while his wife is packing her things to walk out on their marriage. This is going to be an open and honest memoir, a journey that will conclude with lessons learned and a new lease on life. Along the way, Sukruangruang writes about Asian masculinity, women’s relationships, and how his Chicago upbringing was shaped by his divorced Thai immigrant parents.

Zilka Joseph is a poet in Michigan whose writing is informed by her immigrant experience, an unusual one at that for  it’s not just that she was born and raised in India: she’s also Bene Israel, the name for Indian Jews who have lived on the subcontinent for two thousand years. Her new book of poetry, In Our Beautiful Bones, tells mostly of her experiences in the United States. 

It wasn’t unusual in the 1980s and 90s for parents in China to leave their kids behind with grandparents in search of economic opportunities overseas. Anna Qu was one, and only reunited with her mother in New York at age seven after a five-year separation. A not unusual story then, up to a point: Qu finds that she was never going to be included in her mother’s successes. Her book Made in China: A Memoir of Love and Labor is much more about labor than love.