Thursday, March 3, 2011


We can’t wait for Granta’s 114th release, Aliens.  This spring you can expect to quickly find yourselves in the excellent position of being able to get your hands on a copy of some of the best modern fiction, memoir, and poetry around.  As the title suggests, Aliens deals with belonging—or not belonging to be precise.  From Granta’s website:

“First there was the traveller; then the word was emigrants. In America, they turned into immigrants. And today – in many parts of the world – they are (we are) aliens. From somewhere else. At odds with and yet fully inside of another culture. At home nowhere.”

The first story in particular evokes that sense of alienation with artful contrast.  Come, Japanese! moves carefully through the homesick memories of a group of Japanese girls who believe they are on board a ship coming to America where they will meet their new husbands.  Author Julie Otsuka gives us fragments of these young girls’ lives, moments of beauty and longing and indecision, often overridden by their sense of duty or fate.  Mountains of substance are stored within their experience of home, and yet the plot of the story, indeed the fate of the unnamed girls about which the story is written, is entirely focused on a foreign land they hardly know. 

Aliens includes work by Robert Macfarlane, Mark Gevisser and Chris Dennis, as well as moving photography by Afshin Dehkordi, and short poetry by Adam Zagajewski and Juan Felipe Herrera.  There are too many great artists to list here, so we suggest you see for yourself.  The stories in particular will remind that we are all strangers together.

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