Across the World,
This review is from: A World of Difference: An Anthology of Short Stories from Five Continents (Paperback)
For readers who are interested in different cultures, this is an excellent book. A collection of short stories by authors from five continents set in the twentieth century. The other commonality between the authors apart from their profession is that each has a variety of heritage. Such examples include Nadine Gordimer born in Springs, a mining town near Johannesburg, South Africa, whose parents were immigrants. Gordimer's 'Ultimate Safari' is a story told from the perspective of a young black girl. The second story is 'The Joy Luck Club' by Amy Tan. Tan was born in Oakland, California to Chinese immigrants who met during the Second World Year. 'The Joy Luck Club' is about a group of Chinese women who meet in a house to play a game.
I particularly enjoyed Bernard Malamud's story 'The Last Mohican', it is about a Jewish artist called Arthur Findelman who takes an art vacation in Italy. He encounters Shimon Susskind a poor Jewish refugee who sees Finkelman as a wealthy person and expects his help financially, I found it to be an amusing story. Malamud himself was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1914 to Jewish immigrants from Tsarist Russia.
As the authors of the fifteen stories are from the five different continents, limited space deems it impossible for me to include them all here. However, it is important to name such authors such as Allan Stillitoe from Nottingham, London, his story 'Pit Strike' refers to the national strike of early 1972. 'Martha, Martha' is written by Zadie Smith born in north-west London to a Jamaican mother and an English father and was published in Granta's Best of Young British Writers in 2003 is also included in this book.
I also particularly liked 'The Distant Past' by William Trevor Cox born in Mitchelstown, County Cork in what was the Irish Free State. The 'Distant Past' features the Middletons, a brother and sister in their sixties who have lived in Carraveagh all their lives with a loyalty to the days of the Union Jack and a dislike for the new national regime!
The overall theme to the book is identity and culture with a strong emphasis on diversity. I am the least enthusiastic reader I know concerning fiction. However, I have no hesitation recommending this book. I actually read it for a second time, hence the edit of this review!! Reading this book is to travel five continents!!