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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  • Published:
    Jan 2017, 272 pages

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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.

David

SHE HAD a shiny cherry-red frame, scooped alloy Harley handlebars and sleek metal pedals. Her wire basket carrier was fitted with a double-handled cane lift-out. If I'd learned anything from Ahmed before we split (and Lord knew there wasn't much I'd gotten from him over the few years we were together), it was how to spot a good set of wheels. And this push-bike, she was fuck-off beautiful. The jumble of wheels, frames, spokes, and assorted handlebars crowded around her in the window display at Ted's Cycles made me think of the bike dump round back of the Fitzy commission tower.

Before we had Nile, Ahmed and I used to hang at the bike dump with the boys. I'd watch them all piecing together patchwork bikes from throw-outs we'd scabbed off curbs or pulled out of Dumpsters. They were crazy, some of those contraptions Ahmed and them built: tiny little frames attached to oversized backward-mounted handlebars and gigantic heavy-tread wheels. Insanity in...

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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.

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