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In this collection of award-winning stories, Melbourne writer Maxine Beneba Clarke has given a voice to the disenfranchised, the lost, the downtrodden and the mistreated. It will challenge you, it will have you by the heartstrings. This is contemporary fiction at its finest. The book is called Foreign Soil.
Maxine Beneba Clarke is a performance poet, acutely aware of the accents, idioms and cadences of the spoken word, and her gift with voices — their origins, their meanings, their struggles and triumphs with alien English — is at the heart of this collection of stories. Although these are stories about inequalities of power in the intersections of class and race, Beneba Clarke also uses narrative voices and the effects of dialogue to show characters attempting to create and assert a coherent self through the power of speech.
Her work is profoundly political, but it is also more than that. She wants us to have to adjust our expectations and learn the different languages in which her characters speak. She wants us to feel different and out of our depth. And she wants us, above all, to learn how to listen.
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Listen: Foreign Soil by Maxine Beneba Clarke
In this collection of award-winning stories, Melbourne writer Maxine Beneba Clarke has given a voice to the disenfranchised, the lost, the downtrodden and the mistreated. It will challenge you, it will have you by the heartstrings. This is contemporary fiction at its finest. In Melbourne's western suburbs, in a dilapidated block of flats overhanging the rattling Footscray train lines, a young black mother is working on a collection of stories. Inside its covers, a desperate asylum seeker is pacing the hallways of Sydney's notorious Villawood detention centre, a seven-year-old Sudanese boy has found solace in a patchwork bike, an enraged black militant is on the warpath through the rebel squats of s Brixton, a Mississippi housewife decides to make the ultimate sacrifice to save her son from small-town ignorance, a young woman leaves rural Jamaica in search of her destiny, and a Sydney schoolgirl loses her way. Contains the brand new story 'Aviation'.