In the Country: Book summary and reviews of In the Country by Mia Alvar

In the Country

Stories

by Mia Alvar

In the Country by Mia Alvar
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  • Published in USA  Jun 2015
    368 pages
    Genre: Short Stories/Essays

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Book Summary

A powerful, globe-trotting debut short-story collection from an exciting new writer - vivid, character-driven stories about Filipinos from every walk of life.

Mia Alvar's stunning debut gives us a vivid, insightful picture of the Filipino diaspora: exiles and emigrants and wanderers uprooting their families to begin new lives in the Middle East and America - and, sometimes, turning back. One man smuggles drugs from his pharmacy in New York to Manila for his ailing father, only to discover an alarming truth about his mother. A woman living in Bahrain faces a challenge that compels her to question her marriage. A college student in Manila struggling to write fiction knows that her brother, who has gone abroad to make money, is the one living a life that stories are made of. The novella-length title story follows the unexpected fates of a journalist and a nurse during the 1970s labor strikes in Manila. Exploring the universal experience of loss, displacement, and the longing to connect across borders both real and imagined, In the Country speaks to the heart of everyone who has ever searched for a place to call home.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. Few writers, even the most seasoned, can produce collections of evenly superb stories. Mia Alvar triumphs on her first try." - Library Journal

"Starred Review. Stunning … A triumphant, singular collection deserving of every accolade." - Kirkus

"Stunning ... Throughout Alvar's stories, the language is as elegant as it is durable, while the lines of class, race, gender, and history are both blurred and crystallized." - Publishers Weekly

"With a lyrical grace similar to the stories [of] Jhumpa Lahiri and a psychological acuity we find in Yoko Ogawa's novellas, here is a talented new voice named Mia Alvar ... An extremely promising debut." - Mario Alberto Zambrano, author of Loteria

"A superb debut collection that reads like the work of a seasoned writer. Mia Alvar illuminates the lives of her characters with such penetrating insight, wisdom, and compassion that it's impossible not to experience their struggles and aspirations as your own." - Sigrid Nunez, author of The Last of Her Kind

"In the Country is an absolutely beautiful book - generous and heartbreaking, empathetic and insightful. Mia Alvar is an incredible storyteller, patient, assured and in utter control - every one of the endings in this gorgeous debut knocked me flat. A truly extraordinary collection of stories - I loved it." - Molly Antopol, author of The UnAmericans

"It's hard to believe that In the Country is Mia Alvar's debut: her diamond prose sparkles so brightly and cuts so deeply." - Celeste Ng, author of Everything I Never Told You

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More Information

Mia Alvar was born in Manila in 1978 and grew up in Bahrain and New York City. She received an M.F.A. in Fiction Writing from Columbia University and a B.A. from Harvard College. Her short fiction has appeared in One Story, The Missouri Review, FiveChapters, and The Cincinnati Review among other publications; has been cited for distinction in The Best American Short Stories; and has been nominated twice for the Pushcart Prize. She has received grants and residencies from Yaddo, the Djerassi Resident Artists Program, Blue Mountain Center for the Arts, the Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild, and Sarah Lawrence College. Mia is currently a writer-in-residence at the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council.

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