Lania Knight books Sidewalk Dancing by Letitia Moffitt, Atticus Books, October 2013, paperback, $14.95 Ayiti by Roxane Gay, Artistically Declined Press, 2011, 126 pp., paperback, $9 How Shall We Kill the Bishop? and Other Stories by Lily Mabura, Heinemann and Pearson Education LTD, 2012, 104 pp., paperback, $13.71 The Beach at Galle Road by Joanna Luloff, Algonquin Books, 2012, 288 pp., hardcover, $17.18 Ayiti, How Shall We Kill the Bishop?, The Beach at Galle Road and Sidewalk Dancing are first story collections by women who have traveled extensively. The settings of the books are various and distant, and what ties them together is that they allow readers to understand something essential about a faraway place and its inhabitants. It's true that you don't have to set a story in a distant land in order to show the reader another world--a collection like Winesburg, Ohio, set in Small Town, USA, becomes a lens on a place that feels foreign by virtue of the attention to geographical and cultural details. However, the four books reviewed here offer a powerful combination--one I cannot resist--of vivid, complex characters who live in places I've never been, like Haiti and Sri Lanka and Kenya.
The Missouri Review – University of Missouri
Published: Jul 19, 2013