American Odysseys: Writings by New Americans

American Odysseys: Writings by New Americans was originally published as a limited-edition hardcover, but this anthology of contemporary immigrant authors was too good not to share. In May 2013, a paperback edition will be made available through Dalkey Archive Press, a premier independent publisher of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction in the United States. 

Charles Simic, U.S. Poet Laureate and himself an immigrant from the former Yugoslavia, wrote the foreword to the collection. “I once knew a lady whose parents first went to China from St. Petersburg in 1918, and then after a few years, moved to Berlin, Amsterdam, Paris, Lisbon, Caracas, and Havana,” Simic writes. “I had no reason to doubt her veracity; rather, the problem is familiar to almost all immigrants who try to describe what happened to them: they find that their own lives sound unbelievable, not just to strangers, but even to their own ears…Nonetheless, is there any other way to make sense of our experience but to turn it into a story? Isn’t that what literature is for, to give voice to those such as ourselves who have no voice?” 

American Odysseys does exactly that. Twenty-two authors from seventeen countries, most of whom are writing in their second language, contribute to this collection. They bring to life stories from around the world, from a traditional Kurdish village to a future, apocalyptic war to a Russian immigrant neighborhood in Pittsburgh. Publisher’s Weekly called it “a powerful tapestry of art and experience,” while Xpress Reviews said, “A whirlwind of personalities steeped in cultural acuity add a new interpretation to the immigrant story.” 

The authors were drawn from the short list of the 2011 Vilcek Prizes for Creative Promise in Literature. Among the writers are Ethiopian-born Dinaw Mengestu, the recipient of the 2011 Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise; Yugoslavian-born Téa Obreht, the youngest author to receive the Orange Prize in Fiction; Chinese-born Yiyun Li, a MacArthur Genius grantee; and Peruvian-born Farid Matuk, recipient of the 2011 Arab American Book Award.

For a copy, visit your local bookstore or order online from Dalkey Archive Press 

“A powerful tapestry of art and experience from some of America’s newest talents.” —Publisher’s Weekly

“A whirlwind of personalities steeped in cultural acuity add a new interpretation to the immigrant story.” —Xpress Reviews