“Imaginative, informed, at times brash, Anis Shivani will go far.”—The Brooklyn Rail
In these eleven stories of novelistic breadth and ambition, global tensions and harmonies come alive as rarely seen in contemporary fiction. Shivani takes the measure of the fallout from globalization as well as its advantages, exploring diverse cultures to gauge their ultimate resiliencies.
An undocumented Indian worker in Dubai, an Issei man in a California internment camp, a persecuted Baha’i novelist in contemporary Tehran, a Chinese-American conservator at a Boston museum, a Hungarian gypsy girl in 1950s rural Indiana, a dissatisfied Muslim industrialist in post-independence India, and a loyal-to-the-core Jewish trader in the Ottoman empire—these are the kinds of strong, sympathetic, fully realized characters who bridge place and individuality in this powerful collection.
The genre of multicultural/postcolonial short fiction will never be the same again. These stories push us to confront the hardest intellectual challenges of the emerging world, while never letting go of narrative urgency, concision, and lyrical power.
“Anis Shivani demonstrates his versatility as a writer as he takes us around the globe in stories that juxtapose old and new, east and west, with characters that do their best to navigate the generational/religious/cultural/socio-economic tensions inherent in our global economy. Shivani’s observations are dead-on, especially when dealing with themes of loss, family dynamics, and the subtleties of power. This is a solid collection that offers the best of all worlds: skilled writing flavored with detailed cultural nuances in stories that are timeless and universal.”—Laila Halaby, PEN/Beyond Margins Award-winning author of Once in a Promised Land
“Anis Shivani has an enviable narrative reach. He populates worlds that are psychologically compelling, socially acute, and morally challenging. Reading Anatolia and Other Stories, we feel that life has been lived deeply and then—the hard part—served up fresh to the senses.”—Sven Birkerts, author of The Gutenberg Elegies and My Sky Blue Trades
“I've read these stories with intense interest. Anis Shivani is an original, and his work interrogates the historical moment with insight and passion. He looks at this mysterious thing called ‘multiculturalism’ with a fresh eye, never accepting the status quo, always probing and thinking. The forces that keep a lid on emerging thought, on sharp political thinking, had better take cover. This is unusual and interesting work.”—Jay Parini, author of Benjamin’s Crossing and The Apprentice Lover
“Anis Shivani's debut collection of stories reveals him to be one of the most exciting young writers in the States. What I especially admire in his work is the seamless union of his extraordinary intelligence with his intensely empathetic feelings for his characters and for the endlessly mysterious experience of existence itself.”—Richard Burgin, author of The Identity Club and The Conference on Beautiful Moments
“In Anatolia and Other Stories, Anis Shivani does no less than deliver a world. Read together, these smart, sure stories form wild, magnetic patterns on the brain; I'm left believing that seemingly random occurrences might add up to something more than what I'd imagined.”—Julie Shigekuni, PEN Oakland Josephine Miles Award-winning author of Invisible Gardens
“Contemporary American fiction tends to favor style over substance, inactivity over action, ambivalence over judgment, irony over assertion, solipsism over a wide and encompassing worldview. As Nobel secretary Horace Engdahl recently noted, the U.S. doesn't participate in the world's ongoing literary dialogue. But now comes Anis Shivani and his first book of fiction, Anatolia and Other Stories. Already known for his penetrating, erudite, and brutally honest literary essays, Shivani has now joined the ranks of America's best fictioneers. The echoes we hear in these short stories harken back to the masters, Chekhov, Anderson, Kleist, Tolstoy, Turgenev, Flaubert, James, Kipling and Sartre. No postmodern games here, no winking coyness—just solid, international storytelling. No new voice in recent memory is as weighted with intelligence and understanding of the human animal as that of Anis Shivani. To be sure, Engdahl spoke too soon.”—Eric Miles Williamson, PEN/Hemingway Award-finalist author of East Bay Grease