Go Home!

Foreword Reviews - - Reviews - LETI­TIA MONT­GOMERY-RODGERS

Rowan Hisayo Buchanan (Edi­tor) The Fem­i­nist Press (MARCH) Soft­cover $18.95 (300pp), 978-1-936932-01-6

Go Home! is a ca­pa­cious an­thol­ogy that ex­plores the con­cept of “home.” Its pieces come from both estab­lished and emerg­ing writ­ers of the Asian di­as­pora, and ex­ist as “a door to step through.” Whether that door leads one closer to or far­ther away from home changes from piece to piece.

Thirty-one works—es­says, po­ems, and sto­ries—from twenty-four au­thors play side by side, not sep­a­rated by medium. The an­thol­ogy be­gins with Alexan­der Chee’s ar­rest­ing prose piece, “Re­lease.” Pos­si­bly bi­o­graph­i­cal, pos­si­bly fic­tion, the first-per­son nar­ra­tive fo­cuses on two Amerasian room­mates in NYC who are swiftly bound to­gether by more than shared space.

Kimiko Hahn’s “Things That Re­mind Me of Home,” mod­eled af­ter af­ter Sei Shonagon, bleeds be­tween po­etry and prose. Hahn states that she’s “never home­sick for places—only peo­ple.” Alice Sola Kim’s hor­ror story about four Korean-amer­i­can adoptees haunted by a ghost called “mother” fol­lows.

The quick tran­si­tions from one nar­ra­tive form to an­other aren’t al­ways smooth. Read­ing the book from cover to cover cre­ates a unique sense of dis­lo­ca­tion that forces ac­tive adap­ta­tion to each piece’s de­mands.

Voices are mul­ti­fac­eted and in­clude im­mi­grants, adoptees, trav­el­ers, and ex­pats, among oth­ers. Mus­lim voices stand out and are dis­tin­guished from images of Mus­lims that are vil­i­fied and ho­mog­e­nized. Many au­thors ex­plore their Asian and South­east Asian back­grounds, and there are high­lighted lay­ers even within that re­gional gen­er­al­iza­tion. All are writ­ers whose re­li­gious and eth­nic iden­ti­ties cause a sense of dis­place­ment in their daily lives, in the very places they should feel at home.

Go Home! is a chal­leng­ing an­thol­ogy. Lit­er­ary prose and po­etry vie to en­cap­su­late the tricky no­tion of home, wrestling with an im­plied im­per­a­tive to go back to what­ever that place may be. Re­sul­tant ten­sion makes this an­thol­ogy messy, gen­er­ous, and of­ten elec­tri­fy­ing.

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