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Ticket to Minto: Stories of India and America (2001 Iowa Short Fiction Award)

Sohrab Homi Fracis's award-winning short story collection offers readers a passage to an unfamiliar destination--a world intertwining East and West, India and America, home and away. The stories, alternately set in India and America, serve as companion pieces, interrelated across continents in theme and content, bridging those continents. A Hindu university student rushes to save the life of a servant in his homeland, only to find his own life threatened later while attending graduate school in America. A middle-aged Parsi searches for his mate in Bombay while a Parsi mother in suburban Detroit hopes for the Parsi marriage of her westernized daughter. A young Zoroastrian schoolboy in India, beset by socioreligious forces he doesn't understand, finds solace and empowerment in the sight of a rampaging forest fire that he believes grew out of a campfire he had built. A Muslim high-school senior in America finds himself comically bemused by the advances of an older, sexually empowered woman. Released in the US only weeks after the September 11 tragedy of 2001, this timely book explores differences and tensions and violence between religions, cultures, classes, genders, races, ages, and nations, demonstrating the great need for cross-cultural understanding.

"Fracis's 12 short stories reflect a wide range of influences--from the somber realism of Somerset Maugham to the hip, colloquial humor of Junot Diaz. . . . The characters in several stories overlap, heightening the collection's depth and cohesiveness. . . . Readers will recognize these stories as the work of an impressive new talent." --Publishers Weekly

"Indian and American cultures do not so much clash in these stories as jab at social consciousness. Born in Bombay, Fracis offers a diverse, fine-tuned collection rife with beauty and small violences. Readers will experience fleeting moments of psychic pain that characterize the immigrant experience of courtship, love, learning, and living. In "Stray," a student goes through the push/pull of attachment to both his proper Indian girlfriend and an exotic blond. The many piercing details of the story "Rabbit's Foot" bring the hunting gathering theme to a new level, as the main characters stalk and kill a rabbit and concoct a spicy stew from the spoils of an urban hunt conducted with no skill and a twist of insidious barbarity. In "Who's Your Authority?" an Anglo-Indian couple quarrel after an encounter with a Hare Krishna devotee in the Detroit Metropolitan Airport. . . . The collection as a whole is distinctive, visceral, and original. In addition, the Indians in the stories are a diverse lot--Hindu, Muslim, and Parsi. Recommended heartily for all libraries supporting the study of multicultural American literature." --S. Pathak for Choice

"Reading Ticket to Minto was an emotional and intellectual joyride I did not want to end. Here is a writer who leaps headlong into the creative furnace--daring, energetic, fresh! This collection of stories will haunt me for years to come." --Susan Power, author of The Grass Dancer (PEN/Hemingway Award)

"A subtle understanding of human nature, clarity, and intelligence inform this splendid collection. Sohrab Fracis's accurate eye for sensual detail is as evocative of the sights, sounds, and smells of India as it is of the lonelier landscapes of his domicile in America. An original voice stamped with veracity." --Bapsi Sidhwa, author of Cracking India (Liberatur Prize, Germany)

"Evokes the snaky path to adulthood, exposing all those hitchhiking demons at the intersections. From Caulfieldesque schooldays in Bombay to assimilation amid the seductive consumerism and residual racism of American culture, a powerful, serio-comic look at two worlds, inside and out." -- Lenore Hart, author of Waterwoman