Book: Nicholas Laughlin, So Many Islands, 2018

A IS FOR ANTIGUA, B IS FOR BARBADOS, B IS FOR BERMUDA, C IS FOR CYPRUS, F IS FOR FIJI, G IS FOR GRENADA, J IS FOR JAMAICA, M IS FOR MALTA, M IS FOR MAURITIUS, N IS FOR NIUE, S IS FOR SAINT LUCIA, S IS FOR SAINT VINCENT AND THE GRENADINES, S IS FOR SAMOA, S IS FOR SINGAPORE, T IS FOR TONGA and T IS FOR TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO

Hashtags to the max! I am so happy this book exists. On my quest to read books from all corners of the world, I found it hardest to get my hands on written word from island nations and countries newly liberated from colonialism. This books covers the first issue perfectly. It is a great primer on some fantastic established writers, and a wonderful introduction to the works of people previously unpublished but hugely promising. And to read writers from Tonga, Kiribati and Niue was the best treat. The writing is as diverse as could be—the stories, essays and poems delve into the complications wrought on the simple life by colonialism, war, migration, patriarchy, and otherness. But at the forefront of it all is the ocean, and the nature that flourishes on its shores: defiant, wild, eternal.

I particularly liked the stories by Melanie Schwapp, Jacob Ross, Sabah Carrim, Damon Chua and Angela Barry. The poems by Fetuolemoana Elisara and Kendel Hippolyte are phenomenal. Erato Ioannou’s story about Yiayia is delightful: I will never have enough of the Greek/Cypriot grandmothers in literature and/or life. And in such a devastating setting! I hope Ioannou writes more! And I really hope all the authors in the anthology who don’t yet will have lucrative careers ahead of them, and I hope there will be other anthologies just like that.

So Many Islands: Stories from the Caribbean, Mediterranean, Indian and Pacific Oceans
Edited by Nicholas Laughlin
Published by Telegram Books in 2018

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