Wednesday, January 23, 2013
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
“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.”