From the list on debuts that subvert the mainstream Westerns.
Who am I?
Namrata Poddar is an Indian American writer of fiction and nonfiction, literature and writing faculty at UCLA, and Interviews Editor for Kweli where she curates the series, “Race, Power and Storytelling.” Her work has explored ways in which writers from across the world decolonize Literature. Her debut novel, Border Less, was a finalist for Feminist Press’s Louise Meriwether Prize, longlisted for The Center for Fiction First Novel Prize, and featured in several media outlets including the “Most Anticipated” 2022 books for The Millions and Ms. Magazine. She holds a PhD in French literature from the University of Pennsylvania, an MFA in Fiction from Bennington College, and a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship in Transnational Cultures from UCLA.
Namrata's book list on debuts that subvert the mainstream Westerns
Why did Namrata love this book?
Another powerful debut on border-crossing, this novel begins with a frame-chapter or a prologue of sorts called “The Trip” that shows a group of Moroccans fleeing to Spain for a better life on a ramshackle boat. The following subsections, “Before” and “After,” zoom into the lives of the characters introduced in the opening chapter to highlight the socio-economic reasons leading them to risk their lives by crossing the Mediterranean Sea illegally, and their gritty fate once the boat fails them, as they’re stranded in Spain or deported to Morocco. Some critics have called the novel a collection of interconnected stories, although the book’s “prologue” is hardly a standalone story; it aligns the novel instead with an alternative structural aesthetic, one that recalls the frame narratives of oral storytelling traditions like The Thousand and One Nights, an obvious influence on the book.