“Deep curiosity, deep listening, that’s what we have to give to each other. Reading is a form of deep listening, isn’t it? Staying with something, and being affected by it." Maggie Gee
Posts tagged "immigration"
White desire

White desire

Weary and defeated, I collapse onto the damp floor of my cell and think about those people who swarmed the seas like repellent jellyfish and heaved themselves up onto foreign shores. They were interviewed in half-hidden, half-open offices on the outskirts of the city. It was my job, and that of many others, to interpret...
Maggie Gee: Being human

Maggie Gee: Being human

Hot on the heels of the release of a 20th anniversary edition of her Orange Prize-shortlisted The White Family, Maggie Gee’s latest novel The Red Children is a sequel of sorts. But the sometimes stark realism of the earlier book, which was motivated by her grief, anger and shame over the murder of Stephen Lawrence,...
Elif Shafak: Time to reconnect

Elif Shafak: Time to reconnect

Elif Shafak’s richly evocative, elegantly crafted novel The Island of Missing Trees transports readers between 1970s Cyprus and 21st–century London in a cross-generational saga of passion, trauma, memory and renewal. Greek Cypriot Kostas and Turkish Cypriot Defne fall in love as teenagers in the divided city of Nicosia in 1974, meeting undercover in the back...
Neema Shah: A place called home

Neema Shah: A place called home

If you’re non-white living in a majority white place or indeed a visible or identifiable ‘foreigner’ in a land, the chances are you will have at some point been told to “go back to your own country”. Especially in 1970s Britain. The people who regularly shouted this none-too-friendly command would most probably not stop and...
The portraitist

The portraitist

I have to admit that I had a few colleagues with whom I would have preferred never to have crossed paths. Sherman was one; the mere thought of him fills me with bitterness and disgust. Augustus Frederick Sherman. How could I possibly forget him? I can still picture him, stout and saturnine, with his prophet’s...
New arrivals

New arrivals

Augustus Frederick Sherman (1865–1925) worked as a registry clerk with the Immigration Division at Ellis Island from 1892 until close to his death. Over the course of his career he took around 250 photographs of new arrivals at the immigration centre, capturing pictures of Romanian shepherds, Italian peasants, German stowaways, circus performers, single women and...
Lasting impressions

Lasting impressions

I often panic when I am asked about my ‘favourite’ books, especially since publishing my own debut novel Hashim & Family earlier this year. It is such a personal question – there is so much to be understood about someone from learning about the books that they love – that it can almost feel like...
Island voices

Island voices

Most people’s vision of the two-island nation of Trinidad and Tobago would comprise gorgeous, untainted beaches, lively festivals and scrumptious Creole cuisine, while V.S. Naipaul put the islands on the literary map with his early Trinidad-set novels, most notably A House For Mr Biswas. Two singularly brilliant debuts – One Year of Ugly by Caroline...
Playing God

Playing God

Nikita Lalwani’s latest novel You People poses the tantalising question: in a world where the law is against you, how far would you be willing to lie for a chance to live? Set in London pizzeria where half the kitchen staff are undocumented immigrants, it is a witty and humane snapshot of undervalued lives and...
Chinese Almanac

Chinese Almanac

My father lives by the Chinese Almanac (通勝) – it tells fortunes. Like when might be a good day to marry your lover or move house or landscape a garden. Me, I have no truck with that kind of hocus-pocus. Keep it simple. Two rules: you don’t turn down food; you stay the fuck out...