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.