'In this collection of award-winning stories, Melbourne writer Maxine Beneba Clarke has given a voice to the disenfranchised, the lost, the downtrodden and the mistreated. It will challenge you, it will have you by the heartstrings. This is contemporary fiction at its finest.' (Publication summary)
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Sri Lankan Tamil Asylum Seeker on a Leaky boat finds his story interspersed with that of an Australian case worker in a wavering marriage, a ‘spoiled Emirati rich girl’ ridicules a Ukrainian sex worker online, a young Peruvian man cares for his girlfriend while concealing their relationship from her overbearing Gujarati mother. Which recent collection of short stories are these vignettes blurbing from? The answer is that each comes from a separate collection: the first from Maxine Beneba Clarke’s Foreign Soil, the second from Ali Alizadeh’s Transactions, the third from Daniel Alarcón’s War By Candlelight. Yet, in the context of these short stories and their paratexts, this list could ironically also be said to read as a cohesive blurb. Such global short stories of overlap and interconnectivity have become a staple of the transnational publishing world, with such Australian-based writers as Beneba Clarke, Alizadeh, and Nam Le winning multiple awards, making multiple bestseller lists, and joining a wider transnational phenomenon which includes such U. S. based writers as Alarcón and Jhumpa Lahiri. In this essay, I build on the work of Ken Gelder, Wenche Ommundsen, Nicholas Jose, Lachlan Brown and Marita Bullock to proximately examine the way Beneba Clark, Alizadeh and Le—the Australian writers on this list—engage with the transnational by calling attention to the ambivalent position of migrant and diasporic inscriptions of self-reference (Gelder).' (Introduction)