Book: The Ocean of Mrs. Nagai - Stories by Sharbari Z. Ahmedcategories: Book, Multi-Cultural, Islam, South Asian Fiction, Virgins, Short Stories, International, United Nations, Women's Fiction
Sharbari Z. Ahmedabout this book: The Ocean of Mrs Nagai: Stories is set all over the world, from Africa to Tokyo to Hell's Kitchen, NYC. My childhood was spent travelling because my father was a diplomat. This meant adventure and learning to be adaptable, but it also meant displacement and feeling like I never had roots. These stories are born from my slightly nomadic childhood. Because I was often the new kid I learned how to observe my immediate environment. Maybe that's why I became a writer. I had to watch the mood, and tempo and energy of a place, so I understood how to navigate it. These stories have strong, female protagonists at the center of it, who are searching; either for love, or acceptance or a sense of their place in the world. One woman was given up for adoption because her country erupted into war, and wonders what her mother, a poor Bangladeshi woman was like; another woman wants to return a ring to the family of an American GI she suspects her husband killed in the jungles of Asia during WWII. Yet another protagonist, a little girl, longs to be included in a game by the children who live in the slum on the other side of her wall. She lives in a mansion in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
I chose the cover art carefully, working with a Bangladeshi American Artist who felt the images and textures in the piece reflected in different ways the various textures and layers of the stories. It took 15 years of living and observing and honing my craft to write these stories. Each one has been published in journals and anthologies. One, "Raisins Not Virgins" even won a literary award in 2003, and was turned into a stage play that was produced all over America and will be staged in the UK in the coming year. I offer the contents of my head, and sometimes, my heart to you and hope you are entertained and illuminated by them. Thank you for reading!
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