Indie editors have noted the diversity within Indieland in the past, and it’s a topic that we’ll revisit often. Here we spotlight some of Indie’s literary fiction that’s set outside of the U.S.; characters describe village happenings in Iran, intertwining lives of privilege and poverty in India, and a Singapore in transition.
The setting of Feridon Rashidi’s Tales of Iran and Tales of Iran 2 is one of meager village life, characterized by everpresent “dust, bits of hay and the stench of dung.” In “Ashura,” from the author’s first collection, a village boy has a disturbing experience on a holy day when “men lament the memory of the ancient Battle of Karbala by shedding their own blood with cleavers.” Our reviewer called Rashidi’s writing “finely wrought.”
Amita Trasi’s The Color of Our Sky, set in Mumbai, follows two characters—Mukta, the child of a prostitute, who seems doomed to work in the sex trade herself; and Tara, the daughter of an upper-class family that rescues Mukta, at least temporarily. The novel re-creates everyday life in Mumbai, said our reviewer, and is a “sad, soulful, and revelatory story.”
Singaporean novelist Suchen Christine Lim, who earned a Kirkus Star for her novel
The River’s Song, details old Singapore and its hard-won transition to modernity. Villages are razed for new developments, and people battle bureaucracies and police as they watch their culture gutted in the name of progress. Lim tells her characters’ stories with language “that’s subtle, cleareyed, and lyrical, linking a city’s rise with the emotional travails of its inhabitants,” said Kirkus’ reviewer.
Karen Schechner is the senior Indie editor.