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Around the World in 1000 Pages > #5 Foreign Soil by Maxine Beneba Clarke - Spoilers

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message 1: by Russell (new)

Russell | 166 comments Mod
Here is the place to spoil away. Did the stories make you laugh? Cry? Let us all know.


message 2: by Susannah (new)

Susannah | 24 comments Finished this today. I think this is a really good collection. I gave it four stars because there are a few I thought were weaker such as Aviation, Hope and Railton Road, I don’t think these are bad stories, just weaker than my favourites which I will mention below.

Foreign Soil - Clake uses a technique in this one that she uses in other stories of the narrator in her current situation and also thinking about her past and show she got there. This is a powerful story and difficult to read with the theme of domestic violence, but I think it very good and shows how someone can become isolated and controlled by another person and this is difficult to do in a short space of time.

Shu Yi - I liked this exploration of the immigrant experience and how this can differ over generations. Ava wants to fit in and does not want to associate with Shu Yi and is happy that the others in school have found someone else to pick on and at the end joins in with the bullying. Her mother also wants to fit in, but also seeks out other immigrants or others who she sees as like her to visit and expects Ava to help Shu Yi.

Gaps in the Hickroy - I thought this was clever, especially the way information was withheld from the reader that Delores used to be Denver and this shows a different idea of not belonging as not feeling like you associated with the gender you were born.

The Stilt Fishermen - I had an emotional reaction to this one, I really felt empathy for Asanka.

The Sukiyaki Book Club - this is also a clever idea, the reader in unaware until later in the story that Avery is a fictional character created by the mother in the second narrative. I also liked the rejection letters that mention the other stories and wanting to make them more upbeat like these are letters Clarke could have received herself

I did not like Aviation, this was probably my least favourite and I think that is because I found it hard to feel sympathy for Mirabel even though her husband died in the Twin Towers because she turns out to be an ignorant racist and doesn’t know what a Sikh is and seems to have a panic attack when introduced to Sunni, I am not sure what Clarke wanted to say with this story.

I think Clarke is very talented and I would definately read more of her work.


message 3: by Clayton (new)

Clayton Miller | 5 comments 4 stars. Great writing on stories that need to be told. I found the tone of the writing very familiar but that just may be because I was born in Australia and many of the details were relatable.


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