Critical Insights: Contemporary Immigrant Short Fiction Review

“Throughout American literature today, readers are hearing more diverse voices than ever before. This volume in the Critical Insights series devotes its pages to analysis of contemporary immigrant fiction, and showcases essays covering the works of such writers as Jhumpa Lahiri, Edwige Danticat, and Junot Diaz.

Emphasizing the short story form as key to the immigrant writer’s literary aspirations, the volume’s opening chapter “On Contemporary Immigrant Short Fiction” by Natalie Friedman provides an excellent foundation for understanding the origins and challenges of the genre.

The Critical Contexts section then presents historical contexts, critical surveys, and essays that emphasize the notion of the truly global nature of immigrant short fiction. In particular, Anupama Arora, in her essay “Forbidden Desires: Relationships in Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Jhumpa Lahiri’s Short Fiction,” compares the works of two successful immigrant short-fiction writers to show how they, of vastly different origins, can be concerned with similar issues (in this case, interracial relationships).The ten-essay Critical Readings section offers up insight naturally as diverse as this book’s subject. Some highlights include King-Kok Cheung’s “Somewhat Queer Triangles: Yiyun Li’s ‘The Princess of Nebraska’ and Gold Boy, Emerald Girl,” which exposes the added burdens placed on Chinese immigrant homosexuals so that their alienation is both sexual and ethnic, and Bridget Kevane’s “Even the Dead Make Noises,” which examines the need for the immigrant (in this case, the Puerto Rican of Spanish Harlem) to have his uniquely melded voice be heard.

The book also includes a chronological listing of recent contemporary immigrant short fiction as well as a bibliography and index.”