In this anthology of poetry and prose by a self-consciously multicultural mix of authors, we are treated to stories, poems, and an introduction by novelist Danticat (The Farming of Bones, 1998, etc.). The first two sentences of Isabel Allende’s “Evangelina” set the tone: “At twelve o’clock noon Evangelina fell back on the bed. Her body trembled and a deep long moan, like a love call, ran through her.” Most of the other pieces are of equal intensity. Lois Ann Yamanaka’s description of a church service; Ifeona Fulani’s short story about Precious, who never wanted more than to go to the beach with a boy on the weekends; Walter Mosley’s description of interoffice mail worker Mona Donelli; Sherman Alexie’s tale about Spokane Indians and salmon; Robert Antonio’s “nasty story” of “How Crab-o Lost His Head.” These authors can turn a phrase, but one wishes, for variety’s sake, that the editor had looked farther afield than the New Yorker and Harper’s for fiction. The poetry is on a par with the prose. The most noteworthy poem is Ai’s “Charisma: A Fiction,” which evokes sex, God, and the apocalypse: “I absolved myself between a woman’s thighs / and I arose like Lazarus.”
A crazy quilt with some nice patches.