The Lotus Singers: Short Stories from Contemporary South Asia

51pmboga-0l-_sx330_bo1204203200_Edited by Trevor Carolan
Cheng & Tsui Company, Inc., 2011.

The Lotus Singers: Short Stories from Contemporary South Asia is a collection of contemporary short stories by South Asia’s most renown authors.  With writers from Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka, this anthology gives readers a glimpse into the complexities of a region so diverse in both landscape and people through the exploration of themes such as social upheaval, gender inequality, economic and spiritual struggle, and challenges to cultural orthodoxy.

In his review, Alan Cheuse describes that while the writers featured in The Lotus Singers are little know in the US, this anthology shows “how a distant part of the world seems so foreign and yet so close to home.”   Ira Raja also writes that the collection seems at first “to confirm out expectations of the standard stereotypes associated with South Asia—poverty, caste, and the pressures of the traditional family—[it turns] those expectations around in bold, subtle, and intriguing ways, forcing readers to rethink everything they thought they knew about this place at the crossroads of the world” (quoted from the back cover).

Trevor Carolan was born in Yorkshire but grew up in New Westminster, British Columbia.  He received an interdisciplinary PH.D. at Bond University, Australia, and currently teaches English at University of the Fraser Valley near Vancouver.  His current works include Another Kind of Paradise: Short Stories from the New Asia-Pacific and Against The Shore: The Best of Pacific Rim Review of Books, which he co-edited with Richard Olafson.

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Monstress

51qugicl0xl-_sx331_bo1204203200_by Lysley Tenorio
HarperCollins Press, 2012.

Monstress introduces new writer, Lysley Tenorio, who explores the clash and meld of disparate cultures. In the National Magazine Award-nominated title story, a has-been movie director and his reluctant leading lady travel from Manila to Hollywood for one last chance at stardom, unaware of what they truly stand to lose. In “Felix Starro,” a famous Filipino faith healer and his grandson conduct an illicit business in San Francisco, though each has his own plans for their earnings. And after the Beatles reject an invitation from Imelda Marcos for a Royal Command Performance, an aging bachelor attempts to defend her honor by recruiting his three nephews to attack the group at the Manila International Airport in “Help.” (Publishers Description)

Lysley Tenorio lives in San Francisco, California, and is an associate professor at Saint Mary’s College. Lysley’s short stories have been published in numerous journals and anthologies. Manoa Journal has published two of his short stories: “The Brothers” appears in Jungle Planet and “Save the I-Hotel”  is included in Gates of Reconciliation.

Drifting House

Drifting Houseby Krys Lee
Viking/Penguin, 2012.

Spanning the Korean peninsula and the United States, from the postwar era to contemporary times, Krys Lee’s fiction debut, Drifting House, is about people who are torn between the traumas of their collective past and the indignities and sorrows of their present.

In the title story, children escaping famine in North Korea are forced to make unthinkable sacrifices to survive. The tales set in America reveal the immigrants’ unmoored existence, playing out in cramped apartments and Koreatown strip malls. A makeshift family is fractured when a shaman from the old country moves in next door. An abandoned wife enters into a fake marriage in order to find her kidnapped daughter. (Publisher’s description.)

Although born and currently living in Seoul, South Korea, Krys Lee spent much of her childhood in California and Washington and spent time in England. In 2012 she received a special mention in the Pushcart Prize Anthology. In 2006 she was included in a short list of finalists for the Best New American Voices.