Academic journal article Visible Language

Crossing the Blvd Strangers, Neighbors, Aliens in a New America

Academic journal article Visible Language

Crossing the Blvd Strangers, Neighbors, Aliens in a New America

Article excerpt

Crossing the Blvd Strangers, neighbors, aliens in a new America Warren Lehrer & Judith Sloan New York: W.W. Norton, 2003 ISBN 0-393-05737-2 400 pages, illustrated in full color throughout, hardbound with audio CD, $35.00

Queens, New York is the most ethnically diverse location in the United States as reported by the U.S. Census Bureau. Through interviewing its residents and documenting its vibrant neighborhoods, the authors celebrate the immigration stories that we all have or have had a stake in. Of the seventy-nine individuals interviewed, most arrived in this country after 1990. The authors are sensitive to the language as spoken; English often once, twice or more times removed from the speaker's language of origin. The cadence and the hybrid nature of the audio-taped interviews is retained giving the stories flavor. The authors organize the stories into five movements: 1) religious freedom and spiritual healing; 2) asylum seekers escaping war and ethnic cleansing; 3) families reunited and traditions reborn; 4) community action and reconciliation; and 5) collisions and collaborations between people with different roles and goals. This is a sympathetic move toward the stories themselves and also the reader as it gives the collection a discernable shape.

I opened the book with the intention to browse and read a few stories, but was captured by its variety and detail. The stories are simply told, not dramatized or edited for maximum effect. It reminds the reader of the innumerable untold stories present among those living in the United States - stories of escape, separation, longing, brutality and deceit. …

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