Short, Vigorous Roots is a collection of short prose pieces published by Ooligan Press this year (I’ve got a copy via the LibraryThing Early Reviewers programme). They have been written by authors who have some experience of migrant existence and brought together under the editorship of Mark Budman and Susan O’Neill. Some could just about be called stories but most are sketches and vignettes, lumped together as flash fiction.
Trying to read a chunk of the collection in an extended session was disorientating. It reminded me of standing in an international travel hub, like Bruxelles-Midi in Brussels, vibrating with life, colour, language, options and confusions. Perhaps that in itself is a mark of success, a meta-narrative that reinforces the aim of each individual story to explore what it is to be in that place of transition between worlds?
Not every story caught my imagination to the same degree but plenty did. If you don’t like the taste of one dish, there’s plenty more to chew on. Therefore, this succeeds in dressing the migrant other with humanity. It is almost as rich as sitting down to break bread or share rice with someone from another culture and the anthology is a valuable and rewarding piece of literature.