In the spring of 2014, as I looked at the rapidly globalizing world, influenced by mass migration and multiculturalism, I questioned:
How do we form our identities? How do we define who “we” are – those we connect and belong with – and who the “other” is – who we disconnect and conflict with?
I explored these questions of identity in relation to gender, race, ethnicity, nationality, sexuality, and religion by writing four short stories in four months. I wanted to create complex characters that don’t fit classic molds, and I wanted to give voice to minorities who are overlooked on the fringes of society. My aim was realism – to tell the truth of the human experience. The results were what follows:
A Private Matter
Two Turkish-German sisters come of age, struggling with their identities in relation to gender, ethnicity, and religion. Told in first person from the older sister to the younger.
Liverpool Street Station
Four immigrants and their sexual experiences criss-cross over London: a Kosovar Muslim forced into prostitution by her fiancée, an impotent middle-aged Indian businessman who consumes soft porn, a white working-class teenager who strips to pursue her dream of modeling, and a Nigerian Christian street cleaner who struggles between lust and religious guilt. Told through four alternating first person narratives.
The Patron Saint of Lost Causes
In the Interfaith Chapel in Newark International Airport six days after 9/11, four contrasting characters are thrown together: a Northern Irish chaplain, an African-American Southern Baptist, a British Sikh, and a secular Arab-American. Together, they experience tragedy and xenophobia in the aftermath of terrorism. Told in omniscient third person.
What You Saw on the News
An American Red Cross worker journeys to Sarajevo after the Bosnian war, where an encounter with a stranger shatters his ignorance. Told in second person.
I am now seeking homes for these stories in literary journals.
Fiction gives us a second chance that life denies us.