In this debut collection of short stories, this award-winning poet's voice and affinity for imagery and narrative shines through. One of my favorite passages reads:
"My heart? Oh, my father broke it a long time ago. Because of this, when I feel another crack inside my chest, it frightens me. As god is my witness, I don't know how much heart I have left. Both my own history and these train boys are slowly grinding what is broken inside me into dust. So. I make soup."
From the Sen̂or who makes watermelon soup for the hungry train boy orphans riding to freedom, to the meat-eating Christian (in another story) who declares, “If the world were cooked in pork fat, I think it would be a happier place,” these stories are delicious.— Samantha
Fiction. Women's Studies. LGBTQIA Studies. If luck is on an author's side, a book reaches its audience at the right time. Elena Georgiou's THE IMMIGRANT'S REFRIGERATOR can confidently make this claim. Populated with a cast of characters that shine the light on what it means to be an outsider in the early part of the 21st century, this story collection takes its reader into the private lives of those who have entered a country legally, others who were forced to enter illegally, and the rest who call a country home as a result of birth; characters searching for what they need to sustain them on their journeys towards a future that will not only be a place of refuge, but also one of hope. "Quiet, yet powerful stories...Shows characters' shared humanity and the compassion and kindness that can help overcome differences. Georgiou's timely collection will appeal to any reader interested in immigration issues."--Booklist "Exquisite...At a moment when America's political response to The Other is triggering a national crisis of conscience, these poignant stories remind us of the vital role that human compassion plays in bridging ethnic, cultural, and socioeconomic divides. Sustenance acquires profound meaning in these tales of endurance, hope, and the abiding power of quiet generosity."--Aimee Liu "Devastating...and still, it is a celebration of life in all of its scars and joys, chance and invention, awe and longing to be seen, and, over and over, a testament to the tender, transformative power of acceptance and love."--Rahna Reiko Rizzuto "Dazzlingly good...I loved this collection."--John McManus.
"Elena Georgiou's exquisite collection could not be more timely. At a moment when America's political response to The Other is triggering a national crisis of conscience, these poignant stories remind us of the vital role that human compassion plays in bridging ethnic, cultural, and socioeconomic divides. Inside The Immigrant's Refrigerator, the foreign and the familiar share and trade shelf space. Unspeakable sorrows and distant joys appear in the form of bacon, hummus, homemade bread. Papaya salad. Whatever the delicacy, Georgiou's secret sauce is the essential goodness of humanity. Citizens of Maine nourish Somali immigrants with handcrafted chocolates. A refugee from Niger comforts his grieving host in Vermont by teaching her to savor Brie. Sustenance acquires profound meaning in these tales of endurance, hope, and the abiding power of quiet generosity."
- Aimee Liu, author of Flash House and Cloud Mountain
"The Immigrant's Refrigerator is a quietly devastating collection of stories about loners, craving love and connection, trying to survive in a world where war is always raging somewhere and happiness is a phantom of the future. That these loners are Americans as often as they are immigrants and refugees is this collection's greatest strength. Elena Georgiou's voice is quirky and surprising; her ability to turn a phrase upside down invites us to experience the world and ourselves in a new way. There are no easy answers in The Immigrant's Refrigerator; Georgiou's focus is on tipping a moment over the edge to find the broken pieces of our shared humanity. And yet, and still, it is a celebration of life in all of its scars and joys, chance and invention, awe and longing to be seen, and, over and over, a testament to the tender, transformative power of acceptance and love."
- Rahna Reiko Rizzuto, author of Hiroshima in the Morning and Why She Left Us
"Elena Georgiou is a dazzlingly good writer. The thirteen stories in The Immigrant's Refrigerator are stirring, wise, and keenly alert to the longings and contradictions that impel their beguiling characters. I loved this collection."
-John McManus, author of Fox Tooth Heart and Bitter Milk