Summary and book reviews of Foreign Soil by Maxine Beneba Clarke

Foreign Soil

And Other Stories

by Maxine Beneba Clarke

Foreign Soil by Maxine Beneba Clarke
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    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Jan 2017, 272 pages
    Paperback:
    Oct 2017, 272 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Naomi Benaron

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About this Book

Book Summary

From a new voice in international fiction, a prize-winning collection of stories that cross the world - Africa, London, the West Indies, Australia - and express the global experience "with exquisite sensitivity" (Dave Eggers, author of The Circle).

In this collection of award-winning stories, Maxine Beneba Clarke gives voice to the disenfranchised, the lost, and the mistreated. Her stories will challenge you, move you, and change the way you view this complex world we inhabit.

Within these pages, a desperate asylum seeker is pacing the hallways of Sydney's notorious Villawood detention centre; a seven-year-old Sudanese boy has found solace in a patchwork bike; an enraged black militant is on the war-path through the rebel squats of 1960s Brixton; a Mississippi housewife decides to make the ultimate sacrifice to save her son from small-town ignorance; a young woman leaves rural Jamaica in search of her destiny; and a Sydney schoolgirl loses her way.

In the bestselling tradition of novelists such as Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Marlon James, this urgent, poetic, and essential work announces the arrival of a fresh and talented voice in international fiction.

Excerpt from "Gaps in the Hickory"
A Story in Foreign Soil: And Other Stories

Ella laughed when Delores said this, rolled them big brown eyes-a hers. "Ain't nobody roun here gon mess with me, Delores. They knows I can take care-a myself. An sides that they knows they come anywhere near me, my mama gon hunt them down an break every bone in they sorry body. Sides that too, they all seen me hangin roun with y'all an know I got a white lady lookin out for me now."

Delores warn Ella last time that if she snuck in at night again she was gon confiscate her key, lock her out so she like everybody else an need an invitation to come in an visit. In truth, Delores got no heart at all to do that, an that sweet chile know it damn well. Ella share a bed with one-a her li'l sisters: a nervous thing that wet the sheets jus bout every second night. When her sister get to wettin, Ella creep out the cold an stink-a their bed an sneak cross the hallway to Delores. Set herself up on the ...

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Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

The stories in Maxine Beneba Clarke’s debut collection, Foreign Soil, are far ranging in time, place, and voice. They are stylistically bold, structurally innovative and brave in subject, confronting war, child soldiers, domestic abuse, gender identity, and political violence. Clarke writes with the lyricism of a poet and the starkness of a writer of Witness. Her characters come from Australia, Sudan, Sri Lanka, the United Kingdom, Jamaica, China, and the United States, and each one feels fully fleshed, shaped by his or her native culture. They exist in the margins between belonging and “otherness,” and Clarke catches them in moments of crises that bring our common humanity to the forefront.   (Reviewed by Naomi Benaron).

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[Clarke] is unapologetically blunt in her storytelling and creates each character through her urgent and emotionally charged language, which includes a few stories written in dialect. Many readers will relate to these character-driven stories, told in Clarke's voice and with her poetic style, of those on 'foreign soil'

Kirkus Reviews

Starred Review. A tremendous new voice; a writer of immense talent and depth.

Tonstant Weader Reviews

Clarke is a magical writer whose ability to create so many very different people is absolutely uncanny.

Author Blurb Dave Eggers, bestselling author of A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
Maxine Beneba Clarke is a powerful and fearless storyteller, and this collection - written with exquisite sensitivity and yet uncompromising - will stay with you with the force of elemental truth. Clarke is the real deal, and will, if we're lucky, be an essential voice in world literature for years to come

Author Blurb Hannah Kent, bestselling author of Burial Rites
Foreign Soil is a collection of outstanding literary quality and promise. Clarke is a confident and highly skilled writer.

Reader Reviews

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Beyond the Book

An Interview with Maxine Beneba Clarke

Maxine Beneba ClarkeMaxine Beneba Clarke came to fiction through poetry, both written and spoken word. She was born in Australia to a Jamaican father and Guyanese mother. Her parents immigrated to the UK before settling in Australia. Her books include a memoir, The Hate Race; a children's book, The Patchwork Bike; and the poetry collections Carrying the World, Gil Scott Heron Is On Parole, and Nothing Here Needs Fixing. She won the 2017 Victorian Premiers Literary Award for Poetry. Foreign Soil won Literary Fiction Of the Year, Australian Book Industry Awards (ABIA) 2015, Debut Fiction, Indie Book Awards 2015, and the Victorian Premier's Unpublished Manuscript Award 2013. The Sydney Morning Herald named her Best Young Novelist of the Year 2015.

Naomi ...

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