Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Foreign Encounters


 I find it difficult to find a literary anthology that captivates me these days. Thus, reading Foreign Encounters has been a magical experience.
  I've read seventy-five percent of it so far, and I am doing it slowly because this is the kind of book that I don’t want to finish.
  In the editors' words: “An encounter can be a chance meeting, a planned get-together, or even a confrontation. This collection of stories, non-fiction and poems features a variety of foreign encounters: with family, friends, lovers, animals, cultures, or just with one’s own prejudices and preconceptions.” The proceeds from the sale of this book go to Books Abroad, a charity which coordinates the donation of free books for schools all over the world.
  The stories in Foreign Encounters made me laugh out loud, cry and ponder over different matters. They are part of a journey into the mystery of serendipity and meaningful connections. Many of them arouse strong emotions and spark profound reflections. Above all, these stories will entertain you, but they will also carry you away to settings you never imagined you would ever visit: a jail in Peru, a train ride in Barcelona, a rural area in Bangladesh, a beautiful beach in Mallorca, a town in Lithuania, a castle in Scotland, and the list goes on.
   In many cases I connected deeply to the characters. In others I was hooked on the tension and the conflicts portrayed. Like a trip overseas, this book will broaden your personal views and will shed light on obscure cultural issues. It will invite you to the soul of places and people.
   Foreign Encounters includes both established and new writers from all over the world. Many of the authors included have won awards, and the book has a foreword by Julia Gregson whose novel “East of the Sun” became a Sunday Times bestseller in the UK. “East of the Sun” also won the Prince Maurice Prize and has been translated into more than twenty-five languages.  In her foreword, Julia Gregson says, “Living abroad has much to recommend it: it makes you less stuffy, less sure that your homeland is the heart and soul of the world. If you’re lucky too, it can be the place where you meet new soul mates, new lovers, new resilience and strength.”  She quotes Ralph Waldo Emerson: “Let him go where he will, he can only find so much beauty or worth as he has within.”

15 comments:

  1. There are few things as wonderful as reading a book in which you connect with the characters. Few authors have the ability to create that connection. Sounds as if this collection of stories does just that :)

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  2. Meeting new people in new places is like meeting ourselves again and again.

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    1. True, Richard. It is a fascinating experience.

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  3. Great post, Julia! I was pleased to have one of my short stories included in the collection, and, like you, I devoured the wonderful mix of short stories and essays that transported me all over the world. I'm so pleased you chose that quote from Julia Gregson, because it's so beautiful - and so true. I also love Susan Sontag's line in 'The Volcano Lover' : "Living abroad facilitates treating life as a spectacle."

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    1. Hi, Kimberly. I enjoyed your story. Nice job! Thanks for quoting Susan Sontag. You reminded me that I have a book I want to read by Sontag. She is a writer who thinks out of the box and I gravitate toward writers who dare to see things from a different perspective.

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  4. Foreign Encounters sounds very much down my lane. Should try and get hold of it.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, Angelika. You made my day!

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  5. I can see why you would want to savour it and I agree about the wonderful ability we have to travel and experience so much outside our own environment through stories and books.

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  6. Great to come across this post. Foreign Encounters is available now as an e-book from Amazon. I am a member of Writers Abroad, who produced the book, have a non-fiction piece (Myanmar) and a poem (Tanzania) in it. All proceeds go to the charity Books Abroad. An excellent anthology: and we've started work planning our next one!

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    1. Hi Paola. I really enjoyed reading your work. I think this anthology deserves more attention and promotion. Thanks for stopping by on my blog!

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  7. Happy to find this post, Julia! I was pleased to have my nonfiction piece "Life with Mê" included in this anthology, and like you, I really enjoyed all the stories and poems in this collection from writers all over the world.

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    1. Chris, I enjoyed your story... it brimmed with emotion.
      Thank you for reading my review. I look forward to more of your stories.

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