Superior Reads

A PLACE FOR READERS AND WRITERS

Carl Hiaasen has a long career as a journalist and his fiction has often reflected his concern about climate change and invasive species in Florida, but he coats his commentary with a huge dusting of comedy. Hiaasen’s books seem to pick the easy targets – cultural and social commentary on the outrageous extravagances of the twenty first century – whether that be reality television, politics, or overdevelopment and its impact on our environment – it is a truth to be acknowledged that you can’t make this stuff up. But yet, Hiaasen does. Mocking cultural icons and putting an air hose to the absurd— the President has a tanning bed tester instead of a taste tester, for example – Hiaasen knows how to make us laugh, so that we won’t cry.

“Life will teach you the strength of the human heart, not of its weakness or fragility,” Kao Kalia Yang’s father tells her. It is a lesson that Yang passes on to her children and one that she hopes will fortify the hearts of children everywhere, passed on through the stories in Somewhere in the Unknown World. The book is dedicated to “Refugees from everywhere – men, women, and children whose fates have been held by the interests of nations, whose rights have been contested and denied, whose thirst and hunger go unheeded and unseen.” Through this important work, we see them, Kalia, we see them.