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Anatolia and Other Stories Paperback – October 1, 2009

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 266 pages
  • Publisher: Black Lawrence Press; First Edition edition (October 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0615281826
  • ISBN-13: 978-0615281827
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.5 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,670,574 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Anis Shivani is a fiction writer, poet, and critic in Houston, Texas. His stories appear in Other Voices, Crazyhorse, Stand, Confrontation, River City, South Dakota Review, and elsewhere. One of his stories won special mention for the 2008 Pushcart Prize.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Reading Wasp on August 9, 2010
Format: Paperback
Every country, every nation, every civilization, has had minorities living in its midst. But sadly the stories of these outsiders are often swept over and ignored. In this collection Anis Shivani takes the reader on a journey around the world -- and into the past -- in order to bring many of these suppressed stories to life. A Jew living in the Ottoman Empire; A Japanese man interned by WWII America; a Romanian gypsy in the American midwest; an Indian man living in Arab city of Dubai; a group of dissidents in revolutionary Iran; a young Southerner trying to break into a largely East Coast literary community, are just some of these stories.

There is no element of pretense or pontificating. Just good, clean story-telling, put forth by an informed and humane narrator. The locations are exotic, but the themes are universal.

Although this book is being offered as a collection of short stories I think the obvious link -- multiculturalism in multiple civilizations -- makes it seem more like a novel. Its as if the characters are sitting around the fire and telling their experiences to one another.

What I liked most about this book is that it is not about the past, but about the future. As "whites" become a minority in America in the near future, they will want to learn the lessons that other minorities have learned. This book can be very helpful.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Gail Vida Hamburg on March 10, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
One reads fiction to be carried away to other places and other times, and into other lives. Anis Shivani's Anatolia and Other Stories takes us everywhere. It follows an Issei man to an internment camp in California, an undocumented Indian worker from Trivandrum to Dubai, a desperate small town writer to a writing conference in Vermont, a persecuted Bahai writer in today's Tehran, and immigrant Americans of color on a repatriation scheme to Africa. Worlds collide; status, class, gender and race agitate in a fusion chamber. People who start out good enough end up far from home, adrift, unmoored. A babysitter from Bristol, CT tends to the child of elite Malaysians living in Houston, a Vietnamese boy finds a home in the middle of a marital faultline between two academics in Madison, WI. A couple of stories are so chilling, they remind you of Kafka or Saramago, others are delicately wrought, elegant, and quiet like a Chekhov tale, several are political and moral in dimension.This is advanced storytelling by a writer of formidable intelligence, control, grace, and rapier wit.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Frances Cohen on February 15, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
ANATOLIA and Other Stories by Anis Shivani was a wonderful read. As entitled a learning experience into many worlds unrecognizable to me. I select books for a reading group and after reading this selection of short stories I started a vocabulary explanation list for the group to share some knowledge into a different world.

I found the stories varied yet of a common world. He covered many countries, many ethnic groups, many different worlds and many different times.

I look forward to rereading the stories again with my group.
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Shivani is a great critic, and after reading some of his other work I wanted to check out his fiction.

Unfortunately, this collection isn't up to the same standards as his criticism. With a couple notable exceptions, these stories read as if it's Shivani talking directly to the reader no matter which character is speaking. And I don't mean that in a good way. It's as if the settings and 2-dimensional dialogue are set dressing for Shivani to discuss various topics. Other authors do this, of course, but the story serves to reveal the authors point on the readers own terms. The story is what grabs the readers attention, and the point is made before the reader realizes it. With Anatolia, that dynamic is flipped. The dialogue is to prescient, and his characters choices don't feel real. The stories come across as an afterthought, a convenient platter with which to serve up Shivani's thoughts on the world. They're good thoughts, too! They just don't make compelling reading in this form.

The anthology starts off with the not-quite-awful Dubai and Manzanar. Things get a bit better with Conservation, better still with Profession, before finally reaching a peak with Go Sell It On The Mountain. Mountain is a great story, and I think what makes it so is that Shivani is writing about writing -- something he's very good at. His other stories require him to write about a life he can empathize with, but doesn't know innately, and they suffer for it. Not so with Mountain, this story is full of pathos, humor, and well-placed criticism and is worth the price of admission.

Following Mountain are a couple iffy stories, the eponymous Anatolia and Independence. Things improve again with Repatriation, and the final three (Texas, Gypsy, and Tehran) are a mixed bag, with Gypsy the highlight.
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