Graywolf Annual Six: Stories from the Rest of the World

Scott Walker, Editor Graywolf Press $8.5 (176p) ISBN 978-1-55597-122-9
A major role in a play spells trouble for a Japanese actress's marriage; a young Iraqi removes her veil during clandestine walks with a man who doesn't know her name; when an Egyptian matron misplaces her jewels, a defenseless housemaid is arrested and beaten by the police; the daughter of a chieftain in a drought-stricken Kenya village is marked as a human sacrifice. Frequently piquant, these 14 tales--all first published in the 1980s--are penned by Asian, Arabic, African and Estonian writers. The omnibus commendably reveals women in variegated roles that belie stereotypes, such as a Japanese housewife who picks up a lover in the supermarket to steel herself against loneliness. Overtly political, the stories often sacrifice plot and character for didactics; language can be florid and translations unpolished. However, the purposeful collection illuminates foreign cultures, instructing Western readers, for example, about the travails of the Chinese Cultural Revolution, travesties of justice in an Indian caste system and the perfidies of the Libyan military regime. Walker is publisher of Graywolf. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 11/01/1989
Release date: 11/01/1989
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