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Granta 114: Aliens
 
 

Granta 114: Aliens [Kindle Edition]

John Freeman
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

Print List Price: 12.99
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Review

a fine collection --Financial Times, March 14, 2011

The tales of human oddity and odyssey are engrossing, and the non-fiction is outstanding....But the real delights are the pieces that focus on personal alienation. These are windows into worlds you may never have seen or thought about. --Observer New Review, March 6, 2011

...superb stories by Dinaw Mengestu and Aravind Adiga. --Times Saturday Review, February 19, 2011

The range of essays and stories in this issue speaks to this sense of uncomfortable otherness. --Chicago Tribune, March 8, 2011

The new issue of Granta is called "Aliens" and has a silvery science fiction cover. The selections are more about alienation, and range from Julie Otsuka's shimmering "Come, Japanese!" to Roberto Bola�ño's one-paragraph, four-page "Beach" and Paul Theroux's rueful "English Hours: Nothing Personal.

--Oregonian, March 11, 2011

This latest Granta collection explores both the eponymous theme of alienation and its inverse -- notions of home. [...] The theme, which could have run the risk of worthiness, works well, as poetic in parts as plaintive. --Independent, March 18, 2011

A fine collection. --Financial Times

The range of essays and stories in this issue speaks to this sense of uncomfortable otherness. --Chicago Tribune

The selections are more about alienation, and range from Julie Otsuka's shimmering 'Come, Japanese!' to Roberto Bolaño's one-paragraph, four-page 'Beach' and Paul Theroux's rueful 'English Hours: Nothing Personal. --The Oregonian

The tales of human oddity and odyssey are engrossing, and the non-fiction is outstanding...But the real delights are the pieces that focus on personal alienation. These are windows into worlds you may never have seen or thought about.
--The Guardian

Product Description

First there was the traveller; then the word was emigrants. In America, they turned into immigrants. And today -- in many parts of the world -- they are (we are) aliens. From somewhere else. At odds with and yet fully inside of another culture. At home nowhere.

This new issue of Granta features tales from the constantly shifting terrain of alien culture. Mark Gevisser writes of two closeted gay South African men, whose friendship has lasted five decades, dating back to a regime determined to keep black and white apart.

Dinaw Mengestu writes of a war being waged in the Congo by exiles managing it from afar in France. Robert Macfarlane goes for a walk in Palestine, and meets families who can no longer return to their own homes. Nami Mun conjures a couple who feel like strangers in the wake of a terrible betrayal.

Whether it's the closely observed ecology of marriage life or the violent acts of criminals, this issue of Granta will draw into focus one of the most pressing issues of our time: Who do we call outsiders?


Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2290 KB
  • Print Length: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Granta Magazine (10 Feb 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S. r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004SH755O
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #257,336 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Take me to your Reader" 28 Feb 2011
By Ripple TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
As you should have gathered from Amazon's product description, despite the title and ambiguous cover, this is about human alienation, be that national or personal, and nothing whatsoever to do with Mulder, Scully and little green beings.

The edition kicks off with a terrific fiction extract from a forthcoming book (The Buddha in the Attic) by Julie Otsuka about Japanese brides heading to the US - which is a book that went straight on my "to read" list. Also wonderful is Mami Mun's short piece on alienation within a marriage and Chris Dennis' original Here is What You Do about prison life for first time and unlikely first offender. The only fiction pieces that didn't work so well for me was Madeleine Thien's complex book extract here entitled James which didn't fit so well into the short format and a very short Roberto Bolano piece which is one of those four page, one sentence pieces that always seem to be style over substance to me - although kudos for the translator for making it readable - albeit like being locked inside a teenager's head. There's also a short new piece by Booker winning Aravind Adiga, although it didn't do much for me.

By and large the non-fiction content is of a more consistent quality in this edition. There are two terrific articles on the English - one from Philip Olterman comparing British life with German stereotypes, and one from Paul Theroux that highlights 20 years of bemusement about British news events - there's nothing to be proud of here from a British perspective here, but it highlights the bemusement of living in another land.
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By Eileen Shaw TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
There is some outstanding writing in this quarter's Granta. The subject being aliens it could be said to be profoundly depressing, but there are voices from all over the world, and indeed the cover art suggests that many of us are true aliens, walking a strange moonlit path across space to our destiny. Some of this writing is extraordinary. Julie Otsuka opens this volume with the story of women coming from Japan to the United States, carrying the pictures of their future husbands, each having been sold a story that promised houses, loving relationships. Otsuka's piece is silent on what they found on arrival - the truth is beyond any guess.

There is a piece on the Congo by Dinaw Mengestu. It is hard to know how it is possible to pass any comment on the Congo. No one knows, in truth, how its people are surviving the lawless and heartless conditions in which they live and in which many of them subsist or die. They Always Come In The Night, records some of the stories, an empty almost proto-ironic `celebration' of fifty years of independence. The rebels simply wait for the Congolese military to leave a region and come back to practice their cruelties, using pillage, terror and sexual violence as punishment for co-operating with the UN and Congolese forces fighting them. For the villagers under this regime there is only the hope that someday, someone else out there in the world will know about them, and that they will not have been forgotten.

Ann Patchett, the American writer, offers a gentle and insightful piece of reportage, about the Sisters of Mercy order of nuns in their old age. But it was the short story contributed by Chris Dennis, a new young American writer, that gave me the strongest sense of an alien in a world he doesn't understand.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Superb! 16 Mar 2011
Format:Paperback
All 'Granta - Magazine of New Writing' publications satisfy a thirst for brilliant content: reportage, biography, fiction and photo essays (which I adore), and this edition is no different. It is intelligent, without being elitist. An excellent 'alternative' to conventional reading.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Take me to your Reader" 3 Mar 2011
By Ripple - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
As you should have gathered from Amazon's product description, despite the title and ambiguous cover, this is about human alienation, be that national or personal, and nothing whatsoever to do with Mulder, Scully and little green beings.

The edition kicks off with a terrific fiction extract from a forthcoming book (The Buddha in the Attic) by Julie Otsuka about Japanese brides heading to the US - which is a book that went straight on my "to read" list. Also wonderful is Mami Mun's short piece on alienation within a marriage and Chris Dennis' original Here is What You Do about prison life for first time and unlikely first offender. The only fiction pieces that didn't work so well for me was Madeleine Thien's complex book extract here entitled James which didn't fit so well into the short format and a very short Roberto Bolano piece which is one of those four page, one sentence pieces that always seem to be style over substance to me - although kudos for the translator for making it readable - albeit like being locked inside a teenager's head. There's also a short new piece by Booker winning Aravind Adiga, although it didn't do much for me.

By and large the non-fiction content is of a more consistent quality in this edition. There are two terrific articles on the English - one from Philip Olterman comparing British life with German stereotypes, and one from Paul Theroux that highlights 20 years of bemusement about British news events - there's nothing to be proud of here from a British perspective here, but it highlights the bemusement of living in another land.

There are also interesting pieces on walking in the West Bank (from Robert Macfarlane), the Rawandan civil war (Dinaw Mengestu) as well as moving personal reflections from Binyavanga Wainaina on the urge to write and from Ann Patchett in one of those pieces that Granta excels at - exposing a world that you had never thought about, the retirement of nuns - surely prime examples of alienation in the modern world. In a similar fashion, Mark Grevisser writes about the life of the underground black gay scene in Apartheid South Africa.

As so often the photo essays in Granta work less well here - one set in Northern Ireland during the troubles, and one featuring inland Iran.

It's not the strongest edition I've read of Granta, but the pot luck approach is one of the joys of reading it for me. And it may be my imagination, but there appears to be an intentional move to more international sourcing of articles which is always interesting.
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