This anthology of eight short stories and eight narrative essays depicts diverse facets of the South Asian experience in the American South. Some of them relate to the proverbial longing for what the immigrants have left behind, while the others spotlight the immigrants’ struggles to reconcile with realities they did not sign up for. In Chaitali Sen’s “The Immigrant,” Dhruv is unable to talk about a lost boy because he feels “as if he were trapping the boy with his story,” as if the lost boy’s story were his own story of getting lost in a foreign country. In Hasanthika Sirisena’s “Pine,” a Christmas tree becomes more than “only a pine tree with decorations thrown on it” when Lakshmi’s ex-husband lets her know he is converting to Christianity “to get ahead in this country.” Aruni Kashyap’s “Nafisa Ali’s Life, Love, and Friendships, Before and after the Travel Ban” tell a post-2016 immigrant story in which love is baffling. In “Gettysburg,” Kirtan Nautiyal asks, how does an immigrant become part of the new country’s history? Soniah Kamal’s essay “Writing the Immigrant Southern in the New New South” reflects on what it means to be an immigrant writer and if one can write from two places at once. Together, the stories and essays in the anthology compose a mosaic of South Asian lived experiences in the American South.
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Published by Texas Review Press