An outstanding collection, inspiring me to read more of the work of many of the authors featured:
Nadine Gordimer - The Ultimate Safari
A tale of asylum-seeking in Mozambique from the point of view of a young child, whose unworldliness enables Gordimer to draw a painful contrast between the lives of African people and the experience of tourists visiting the sub-Saharan area
Amy Tan - The Joy Luck Club
This story was a breath of fresh air for me and I fully intend to seek out the original collection. Tan's most famous story is truly original, providing a rare and deep insight into Chinese cultural attitudes and history, and the intergenerational tensions engendered by migration.
Ana Menendez - In Cuba I Was a German Shepherd
Menendez fleshes this simple series of vignettes with rich and poignant detail, the precious material of cultural memory. The perpetually frustrated hope of a diaspora in long-term exile is balanced with humour and the imperfect compensations of life in America
Roxana Robinson - Mr Sumarsono
Robinson tells the simple tale of a visiting diplomat from the viewpoint of the well-meaning but vulgar and ignorant hostess's young daughter, who is disgusted by her mother's behaviour. Mr Sumarsono is angelic and oblivious, and his vision purges all impurities from the hosts kindness. The transformative potential of cross-cultural meetings is richly hinted at in this clever and finely crafted story.
Bernard Malamud - The Last Mohican
Malamud's protagonist's experience is full of delicious novelty, and the deeper resonances are many, reaching into complex collective notions of fellowship, shared history and responsibility.
Alan Silitoe - Pit Strike
The first story I have read by Silitoe, who relates this unusual anecdote in a refreshingly unembellished style, while the scriptural leanings of the protagonist give his actions a stylish tone of mythical heroism
V.S Naipaul - One Out of Many
I first read this with In a Free State and it's made an indelible impression. Naipaul is masterful in telling the incisive tale of servitude transported, giving each character due measure of inherent decency, self-interest and flawed humanity. The uncomfortable meeting of worlds is all the more resonant because stories from the point of view of servants are so unusual. Over and over I was confronted with my own privilege and prejudice, and forced to think again. It's also a radical story of emancipation and readjustment, entirely without utopian illusions.