The departure lounge: stories and a novella
What happens when people land on unfamiliar moral and cultural turf? The five stories in Paul Eggers’ The Departure Lounge examine that question, focusing on characters in either voluntary or involuntary exile—men and women forced to confront their deepest emotions and beliefs, removed from familiar, comforting surroundings. In one story an academic flees his family, arriving in Africa only to find that his African host is dealing with a similar crisis. In another, an American chess hustler in Africa is forced to come to terms with his own sense of right and wrong. In yet another, an old Vietnamese man now living in California finds that his relationship with his now-dead daughter was not what he had assumed. In the story “Hey,” a young chess star confronts the death of his brother in the Vietnam War. And in the final story, an aging American couple—former UN relief workers—return to their refugee-camp worksite in Malaysia, discovering what they had forgotten about themselves. In lyrical, tough-minded prose, Eggers’ stories illuminate in unexpected ways the profundity of cross-cultural experiences, as well as deliver fresh insights into the complexity of identity.
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Annie asked Aunt Beth Aunt Binh began Bidong Bidong Island boat Bobby Fischer brother Bujumbura Burundi chair chess clock chessboard chessmen Cindy dark Dien door drive eyes face father felt fingers front frowned Gerard giant glass going grabbed hair hand hard head hear heard husband Hutu imagined Jacques Jenny Kirundi knew Kuala Kuala Trengganu Lai's laughed leaned looked Malay Marion Maureen morning mouth move Muramvya muzungu Neil's never night nodded Okay Peter plastic Primus beer professor pulled Rassmussen refugee Rick Rueben Saigon seemed shirt shook shoulder shouted side smelled smiled soldiers someone sound spoke stared Stella and Tony stood stopped stuck Suicide by cop Tacoma talk tell thing Tina told Tony and Stella trishaw turned Tutsi Uncle Duong Viet Cong Vietnamese voice walked wanted washing watched waved whispered window words Xuan