Worlds Apart: Nam Le’s The Boat and Ali Alizadeh’s Transactions
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This paper reads Ali Alizadeh’s transnational book of short stories (Transactions, 2013) as a curious and pointed response to the kind of literary internationalism seen in Nam Le’s The Boat (2008). Le’s work was first published in the same year as Alizadeh’s The New Angel (which was set during the Iranian revolution). There is a sense in which the spectacular success of Le’s book ‘overshadowed’ the publicity for Alizadeh’s novel in the year of its arrival. But Le’s also work contains a story about an American woman visiting Tehran, and his mimicry perhaps signifies a more problematic representational point of comparison. With this in mind, this paper examines Alizadeh’s Transactions exploring the ways in which Alizadeh’s brutally connected global vision is coded through certain aesthetic choices (including structural, tonal and descriptive) that offer something very different to the artisanal and paratactic sensibility of The Boat.