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Granta 114: Aliens (Granta #114)

3.73 of 5 stars 3.73  ·  rating details  ·  73 ratings  ·  15 reviews
First there was the traveller; then the word was emigrants. In America, they turned into immigrants. And today - in many parts of the world - they are (we are) aliens. From somewhere else. At odds with and yet fully inside of another culture. At home nowhere.

This new issue of Granta features tales from the constantly shifting terrain of alien culture. Mark Gevisser writes
Paperback, 256 pages
Published February 1st 2011 by Granta Books (first published January 1st 2011)
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Who am I to dent the thus far perfect three star review of this edition? It's about right methinks.

I usually read Granta cover to cover, not looking in advance at who has written a particular piece, and paying attention only if I find it exceptional at one end of the scale or another. As it turns out, one of my favourites this time was one I would have saved up were I in the habit of keeping what I suspect would be the best until last. Ann Patchett's The Mercies charts the relationship between
This is my third Granta issue and they tend to earn a solid 3-star rating from me. This one is no exception. Normally, my 3-star ratings are given to works that I generally liked but had a lot of flaws I just can't overlook. Given that each Granta issue is filled with works by authors of different skill levels, tastes, techniques, backgrounds, and agendas, here the 3-star rating translates to an uneven yet ultimately satisfying read.

As with all issues, I read straight through, rediscovering aut
Justin Lau
This issue's theme of 'Aliens' doesn't refer to the fuzzy green creatures in outer space but refers to outsiders. Unfortunately, many of the stories in here (a mix of fiction and non-fiction) barely scrape the surface of this theme and are disappointingly abstract.

Personal favourites: 'Come, Japanese!' (Julie Otsuka, fiction), 'Edenvale' (Mark Gevisser, non-fiction), 'The Mercies' (Ann Patchett, non-fiction)
This was a good solid issue of Granta. Nothing was especially outstanding, but the issue nevertheless was interesting and worth reading in its entirety. I like the piece by Julie Otsuka on the Japanese potential brides' journey to America. Also found the piece by Mark Gevisser on gay relationships in the South African Townships post new Constitution interesting. I am motivated to read Madeleine Thien new novel as a result of her inclusion in this issue. Paul Theroux is at his usual curmudgeon be ...more
Shawn Towner
More non-fiction than I expected, but I also thought that the title "Aliens" meant space aliens, not strangers in a strange land aliens. Many of the non-fiction pieces were interesting reads, but none were particularly outstanding. Mostly long-form, magazine-style, personal essays, with the occasional narrative thrown in to make things a little more literary. One of the stories in the collection, Nami Mun's "The Anniversary," was phenomenal. It was like a Raymond Carver story--harsh and heartbre ...more
I enjoyed the pieces by Dinaw Mengestu, Nami Mun, Madeleine Thien and Binyavanga Wainaina. I hope to read some longer works by Wainaina. I liked Paul Theroux's work, even though he tends write only about the corruptions, perversions, and inadequacies of lands and people--in this instance, Great Britain. He includes a description from Borges of the Falklands War, "like two bald men fighting over a comb".
Finally a solid Granta. Had some nice short pieces. An engrossing one from Paul Theroux about England as a foreigner; a funny one about the Rover car industry from the point of view of an German immigrant; and some other harrowing stories about growing up different.
Fabulous collection of short stories dealing with being an outsider in some way-at first glance I thought it was a science fiction collection, and was happily surprised that it was about seeing the world around you as an alien, someone from outside the mainstream.
Dana Bundy
some are so-so. some make my mind pop. most offer curiously interesting perspectives totally unfamiliar.
May 25, 2014 Jim rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: home
Ann Patchett's piece sticks in the mind. Robert Macfarlane as usual is superb.
a bit disappointing... they were too disjointed... no real connecting theme.
Really enjoyed this collection of new writing on the topic of "Aliens."
Geopolitical pain in short fictional forms
Mar 02, 2011 Melwyn added it
quite a few interesting stories
Todd Melby
Mar 21, 2012 Todd Melby is currently reading it
Roberto Bolano essay rocks.
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Granta magazine was founded in 1889 by students at Cambridge University as The Granta, a periodical of student politics, student badinage and student literary enterprise, named after the river that runs through the town. In this original incarnation it had a long and distinguished history, publishing the early work of many writers who later became well known, including A. A. Milne, Michael Frayn, ...more
More about Granta: The Magazine of New Writing...

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  • Granta 10: Travel Writing
  • Granta 11: Milan Kundera: Greetings from Prague
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