Monday, July 11, 2011

Immigrant Stories à la Europa Editions

My name is Colleen and I blog at Books in the City - I read and review a variety of books but I have a particular interest in Immigrant Stories.  I host a challenge at my blog entitled the Immigrant Stories Challenge where participants read stories with an immigrant theme and I am always on the look out for books to suggest for the challenge.  As I walked the floors of BEA, the Europa Editions booth grabbed my attention and it turned out that many of their books feature an immigrant story.

So the focus of my Europa Challenge will be their books with an immigrant theme which include:

 Clash of Civilizations Over an Elevator in Piazza Vittorio: A small culturally mixed community living an apartment building in the center of Rome is thrown into disarray when one of the neighbors is murdered. An investigation ensues and as each of the victim’s neighbors is questioned, the reader is offered an all-access pass into the most colorful neighborhood in contemporary Rome. Each character takes his or her turn center-stage, “giving evidence,” recounting his or her story—the dramas of emigration, the daily equivocations of immigration, the fears and misunderstandings of a life spent on society’s margins, abused by mainstream culture’s fears and indifference, preconceptions and insensitivity. What emerges is a touching story that is common to us all, whether we live in Rome or in Los Angeles.

The Sexual Life of an Islamist in Paris:   This exhilarating novel about tradition and modernity, obligation and emancipation, also speaks to what it means to live in a heterogeneous society where cultures and ideologies often clash. With this portrait of a man balanced between two cultures—liberated and successful but nonetheless conditioned by religion, family, and an overbearing mother—Leïla Marouane establishes herself as an original and talented chronicler of modern man’s inhibitions and taboos.

Between Two Seas: With the exuberance of innocence and childlike urgency, the story of Heumann’s fame and Bellusci’s obsession is told through the eyes of Florian—the two men’s grandson, a child of two countries and two cultures that are often at odds, and the unlikely heir to his Italian grandfather’s obsession.

Broken Glass Park :
The heroine of this engrossing and thoroughly contemporary novel is seventeen-year-old Sascha Naimann. Sascha was born in Moscow, but now lives in Berlin with her two younger siblings and, until recently, her mother. She is precocious, independent, street-wise, and, since her stepfather murdered her mother several months ago, an orphan. . . . Germany’s Freundin Magazine called Broken Glass Park “a gripping portrayal of life on the margins of society.” But Sascha’s story does not remain on the margins; it goes straight to the heart of what it means to be young, alive, and conscious in these first decades of the new century.

Bone China: A beautifully crafted story of hope and survival set in Sri Lanka and England that will appeal to all readers of White Teeth and The Inheritance of Loss.

The Hottest Dishes of the Tartar Cuisine: Rosa is quick to broker a deal that will guarantee all three women a passage out of the Soviet Union. But as soon as they are settled in the West, the uproariously dysfunctional ties that bind mother, daughter and grandmother begin to fray.

Told with sly humor and an anthropologist’s eye for detail, The Hottest Dishes of the Tartar Cuisine is the story of three unforgettable women whose destinies are tangled up in a family dynamic that is at turns hilarious and tragic. In her new novel, Russian-born Alina Bronsky gives readers a moving portrait of the devious limits of the will to survive.

I like the fact that these books cover emigration to countries other than the US which is a change from many of the other books I have read for the challenge.  The theme of immigration is just one of many covered in the spectrum of Europa Editions books (check out Col Reads 's dinner with Europa).

Are there any themes in your selections for the challenge?

Colleen @ Books in the City