First Fiction Fridays: Travel Is So Broadening by Wasela Hiyate

February 26, 2016

The old expression “travel is so broadening” is, perhaps, more relevant today than ever, when travel is more accessible, immigration more common, and social media brings citizens of the world into closer and more frequent contact. Wasela Hiyate explores the impact of travel and cultural disparities on a variety of individuals in this wide-ranging collection, with an eye for detail and an ear for dialect that bring them to life.

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TravelIsSoBroadening

What:

Travel Is So Broadening (Quattro Books, 2015)

Who:

Wasela Hiyate was raised in Toronto after emigrating from Guyana at the age of one. She studied in Montreal and earned a MFA from the University of British Columbia. Her writing has appeared in The Malahat Review, Descant, The Fiddlehead, The Art of Trespassing, The New South, Coming Attractions 2010, and other literary publications. The title story of Travel Is So Broadening was nominated for the Journey Prize. In a past life, Wasela traveled and worked throughout Asia and Europe and taught ESL in Turkey and Mexico. She currently lives in Toronto, where she toils by day at a legal publishing company and by night on various fiction projects.

Why You Need to Read This Now:

The old expression “travel is so broadening” is, perhaps, more relevant today than ever, when travel is more accessible, immigration more common, and social media brings citizens of the world into closer and more frequent contact. Wasela Hiyate explores the impact of travel and cultural disparities on a variety of individuals in this wide-ranging collection, with an eye for detail and an ear for dialect that bring them to life. The stories are set in such diverse places as Thailand, Mexico, Trinidad, Guyana, and Iqualuit, as well as Toronto and Boston.

Many of the characters experience epiphanies that deepen their understanding of social issues, now magnified through the lens of cultural practices. Some become aware of injustices hidden in their own countries but revealed in foreign ones, while others become aware of certain freedoms and possibilities that are not permitted in their native lands. Some revisit a place they once called or still call “home” only to discover that “home” is no longer there.

Part of the collection’s appeal lies in its variety.  One, “1972 Poster Girl,” depicts the desperation of a mother forced to leave young children in her homeland, as she overcomes her fearfulness to realize she will do anything to find employment in a new land. Another, “Mo,” humorously depicts the surreal reality of an immigrant trying to find his identity in a country where the language he is learning is frequently misunderstood. 

In every instance, these well-crafted gems proclaim that all journeys are journeys of self-discovery. 

What Others Are Saying:

“Hiyate grounds her narratives with delectable descriptors and places them in invigorating settings. There’s innovation in here in terms of how easy and comfortable it is to dwell in Hiyate’s characters. It is also her artistry as a writer, using wit and beautiful turns of phrase that makes this collection so riveting.” –Jacqueline Valencia, The Winnipeg Review

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Thank you to Quattro Books, especially Sonia, for sharing this great collection of stories with us. If you love discovering new authors to read, check out our previous Friday Fiction Friday picks.


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