Saturday witnessed the second rave review for Clark Blaise's The Meagre Tarmac in three days, with Dave Williamson writing, in part:
CLARK Blaise, born in the United States but acclaimed years ago as a CanLit star, has produced a collection of new short stories, his first in almost 20 years.
A master of showing how clashing cultures affect his characters, Blaise offers 11 engrossing tales that involve people from India finding success but not necessarily happiness in America
As Blaise explained in hisSelected Essays(2009), his itinerant Canadian father moved the family all over the eastern U.S., causing Blaise to feel like a "resident alien." Blaise's keen awareness of cultural differences (city to city, Canada to U.S., Quebec to the American Midwest) was further honed by his marriage to the India-born writer Bharati Mukherjee.
Back in 1977, Blaise and Mukherjee publishedDays and Nights in Calcutta,a two-part book in which he and then she gave an account of their one year living in her homeland. Now, all these years later, Blaise's insight into life in India has matured to the extent that he can feel comfortable writing from the Indian immigrant's point of view, despite the fact that he has spent most of his recent life in America.
The Meagre Tarmac(the title refers to the humble airports from which most of Blaise's protagonists emigrate) shows a veteran storyteller at the peak of his powers.