I Know Here

The little girl in this story lives in a trailer near a forest where her father is building a dam. Everything in her world is familiar and precious to her. But the dam is nearly finished and the family is moving to the city, which the little girl knows only as a place marked by a big red star on the map at school. Have the city people seen what I have seen, she wonders? The teacher suggests that she draw something that she wants to remember to take away with her when she leaves, and the little girl decides to draw what she knows — her road and everything her world contains — so that she can keep it with her always.

See the review at WOW Review, Volume 4, Issue 2

Good Night, Commander

The Commander has lost his mother and one of his legs in the Iran-Iraq war. Now he spends most of his time alone in his room where he recreates the conflict with an imaginary enemy and soldiers, trying to avenge his losses. His father urges him to take off his artificial leg when he is at home, to join his uncles and aunties who have arrived for dinner. But when he does, he finds out that they are all about to go off to meet his “new mother.” Back in his room the imaginary war continues, and he confronts an enemy soldier who is also missing a limb. A battle seems inevitable until The Commander offers the enemy his artificial leg.

See the reviews at WOW Review, Volume 2, Issue 4 & Volume 5, Issue 3.

Leaving Glorytown: One Boy’s Struggle Under Castro

Eduardo F. Calcines was a child of Fidel Castro’s Cuba; he was just three years old when Castro came to power in January 1959. After that, everything changed for his family and his country. When he was ten, his family applied for an exit visa to emigrate to America and he was ridiculed by his schoolmates and even his teachers for being a traitor to his country. But even worse, his father was sent to an agricultural reform camp to do hard labor as punishment for daring to want to leave Cuba. During the years to come, as he grew up in Glorytown, a neighborhood in the city of Cienfuegos, Eduardo hoped with all his might that their exit visa would be granted before he turned fifteen, the age at which he would be drafted into the army. In this absorbing memoir, by turns humorous and heartbreaking, Eduardo Calcines recounts his boyhood and chronicles the conditions that led him to wish above all else to leave behind his beloved extended family and his home for a chance at a better future.

Koyal Dark, Mango Sweet

Jeetas family is caught up in the whirlwind of arranging marriages for her two older sisters, but the drama and excitement leave Jeeta cold. She knows that tradition demands the parade of suitors, the marriage negotiations, the elaborate displays, the expensive wedding parties but where is the love and romance that the movies promise? She dreads her turn on the matrimonial circuit, especially since Mummy is always complaining about how difficult it will be to find Jeeta a good husband, with her dark skin and sharp tongue.As Jeeta spends more time with her new friend from school, Sarina, and Sarina’s educated, liberal parents, she begins to question her tradition-bound parents’ expectations. And when she falls in love with Sarina’s cousin, Neel, Jeeta realizes that she must strike a balance between independence and duty and follow her own path.