Kali Napier's Reviews > Foreign Soil
I don't know why I used to be scared of short story collections. It shouldn't have taken me this long to read the marvellous Foreign Soil, but I might not have appreciated it as much before now. This collection puts to rest any notion I had that they were disparate stories bound together, because this is a perfectly crafted whole. The final story 'Sukiyaki Book Club' is sublime, laying bare the structure of the collection, the crafting of lives of people who share similarities: they're alone, afraid, and unloved. But when each protagonist is allowed to be who they are, they display extraordinary resilience. My favourite stories were 'Shu Yi' about the betrayals enacted in the desire to fit in; 'Gaps in the Hickory' set in New Orleans, about the terror and safety instilled by family; and 'Aviation', where a child confronts the prejudice of a white American woman still coping from her husband's death in 9/11. Devastating.
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