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Granta 118: Exit Strategies (Granta: The Magazine of New Writing) [Paperback]

John Freeman
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

2 Feb 2012 Granta: The Magazine of New Writing (Book 118)
Be it a wrong turn, a bad relationship, a debilitating illness or a war, every action creates a reaction, every move is followed by another move. How do we get out of what we've gotten ourselves into? Granta 118 zooms in close on the phenomenon of the exit strategy. In a new story, Alice Munro writes of an elderly woman whose attempts to care for her husband are undermined by her own deteriorating thought processes; Claire Messud searches for her father's past in Beirut, Lebanon as he lays dying in a hospital in the US; and Aleksandar Hemon remembers the importance of smuggling his family's dog out of war-torn Sarajevo. Exit Strategies also features new writing by John Barth, Gish Jen, Ann Beattie, and newcomer Chinelo Okparanta - examining how we get ourselves out and the repercussions that follow. Hindsight is 20/20, but it's what we do moving forward that defines us and - in the best of all worlds - redeems us.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 264 pages
  • Publisher: Granta Publications Ltd (2 Feb 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 190588155X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1905881550
  • Product Dimensions: 21 x 14.8 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 270,074 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

Granta's 118th issue focuses on departures and escapes; perhaps inevitably, its richly enjoyable short stories and poems are more focused on the weight of the past than the promise of the future. Alice Munro and Anne Tyler are the star names, but John Barth's short contemplation of the struggle to write when age has diminished inspiration is arguably the headline piece. And there's more substance to be found elsewhere. Judy Chicurel's "City Boy" is the touching account of a young woman's relationship with a distrustful boy, Daniel Alarcón's "The Provincials" has a young man pretending to be his emigrant brother, while Aleksandar Hemon's "War Dogs" follows his family's affable Irish setter as conflict comes to Sarajevo. Juxtapositions highlight further themes: Chinelo Okparanta's account of a would-be emigrant's mourning of Nigeria's oil-despoiled landscape ("now the mangroves are dead, and there is no birdsong at all") sit alongside Stacy Kranitz's stark photo-essay on the lives of people clinging to a decaying Louisiana island. --the Guardian, 28 February 2012

About the Author

John Freeman has been editor of Granta since 2009. He is the author of The Tyranny of E-Mail and former president of the National Book Critics Circle. His criticism has appeared in the New York Times, the Guardian and the Independent.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
By Eileen Shaw TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
This quarter's Granta has some news from the front-line in Uganda's struggle against Josef Kony. His policy has been to kidnap children, the boys to be killers, the girls to be sex slaves, in a monstrous family that he seems to believe can straddle state borders. He is already moving into the Congo, though he will have rivals there and may not prosper so easily. So far he has kidnapped somewhere in the region of 30,000 children, though many have since been rescued or have escaped. The problem with such figures is that one cannot conceive of them - they seem too many. How does he control them? The answer comes from Susan Minot's reporting from a Kony stronghold. Kony does not feature in this story, only in the form of a distant figure to whom all pleas must be referred. When Kony's soldiers came to the girls school at St Mary's and began their terrifying abduction the courageous nuns followed their charges into the bush, determined to plea for the children's return. Amazingly they managed to save the majority of their charges, but thirty girls were chosen by Kony's men to remain. Thirty girls ripped from their families and their school-lives. The sisters returned with their rescued children but the faces of the mothers whose children did not return will haunt them for ever. (Type "kony" into YouTube to find out more about the fight against him.)

In 'City Boy' by Judy Chicurel, she tells of a time when she volunteered at the Thorns of Christ Home for Forgotten Children where she met Stevie, a child with a multitude of problems, with whom she managed, against the odds, to form a good relationship. It does not end well, or start well, but it's a story that needs to be told.
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Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Granta magazine in quite a few issues 12 Mar 2012
By red_gamer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This is easily the most consistent Granta magazine in quite some time. Almost every story hits the mark, even though the theme is rather losely applied at times.

My personal highlights included 'Thirty Girls', a horrifying story of abduction by the Lords Resistance Army (timely) in Uganda; Anne Tyler's insightful 'The Beginner's Goodbye', Ann Beattie's tense mother-daughter relationship as viewed by the narrator in 'Anecdotes' and the love of a dog getting families through the Bosnian war in 'War Dogs'.

While no one story blew me completely away (though Thirty Girls came close) it was a great read with a good mix of new and established writers.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An eminently readable collection 8 Mar 2012
By Vrinda - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Exit Strategies is an eminently readable collection of essays, fiction and poetry.
Alice Munro's writing is, as always, a pleasure to read. Her "In Sight of the Lake" starts innocuously with a woman driving to her doctor's appointment, and leads gently on to a climax that the reader comes to expect, yet dreads. Anne Tyler's "A Beginner's Goodbye" is a touching story of a man who tries, as matter-of-factedly as he can manage, to come to terms with the sudden accidental death of his wife. His friends and acquaintances, in trying to help him get over his loss, only make it more difficult for him to do so. Chinelo Okparanta's "America" is a story about a Nigerian woman on her way to her visa interview at the U.S Embassy. Along the way, Okparanta touches expertly on the myriad conflicting emotions that assail a person on the verge of leaving her country. In the very process of expressing his doubts about whether the words will continue to flow, John Barth ends up with a wonderfully well-crafted piece on his writing routine in "The End?".
These, and the rest, each with its own unique style and execution, make this collection a reader's delight.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Literary magazines try too hard sometimes 17 Dec 2012
By C. Pugh - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Granta publishes some good stuff but also the sort of posturing, self-conscious pap that passes for avant garde nowadays. I'd love to sees a well-written journal filled with stories that LEAD SOMEWHERE, populated with characters I can engage with or at least distantly recognize,
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read 1 April 2014
By Audrey Jackson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I am enjoying this journal immensely ; so much so that I have signed up for a subscription to Granta.
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