July 18, 2011

A collection of stories by Clark Blaise

I am a big short story reader. Literary journals such as Prairie Fire, Event and CV2 have always been my choice reading materials, and I can usually be found with some sort of short story collection tucked into my purse.

When I stumbled upon The Meagre Tarmac, a novel written as a collection of short stories by Clark Blaise, I immediately picked it up and started to read.

A very regal head shot of Clark Blaise. We can't wait to meet him!

Blaise is no newcomer to writing, and he has written more than 20 books of fiction and non-fiction. He has taught both writing and literature at Emory, Columbia, NYU and UC-Berkley, to name a few. In 1968, he founded the postgraduate Creative Writing Program at Concordia University. In 2010, he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada, an extremely important distinction that isn’t just given to anyone.

With a background like that, I knew The Meagre Tarmac was going to be good…

It begins with three stories about the Waldekar’s, a family originally from India who has spent the last 20 years in the United States. Gradually, the collection begins to include a host of other, interesting characters. The last story features an Indian businessman who is both very lonely and very rich.

The cover of The Meagre Tarmac. It's definitely worth a read...

Throughout the collection, the characters are stuck between doing what they want to do and doing what they are required to do. Even though all of the main characters come from Muslim backgrounds, they are all different in their personal beliefs. Choosing to step away from one’s upbringing is a monumentally difficult task, but for some, a necessary action on the road to becoming an individual.

Blaise currently divides his time between homes in San Francisco and New York, so we’re truly lucky to have him as a presenter at THIN AIR 2011!

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