By Munashe Kaseke
Reviewed, 13 May 2022
With her superb collection of short stories, Munashe Kaseke leaves a lasting impression. Topical and insightful, Send Her Back and Other Stories attacks race and gender stereotypes with grace and resonance. Bound to top lists of recommended diversity reads, we’re mistaken if we think Send Her Back is for an exclusive audience. In its hard-hitting stories, Kaseke creates glimpses of her protagonists’ secret lives. In her Author’s Note, she tells us she hopes we “feel seen” in her work. She is reaching out through stories of love and optimism; her only mission is to connect.
These pages barely contain their characters. They hold strong Zimbabwean women, led by their education to every corner of the United States. Whether they are braving northern blizzards or stuffy boardrooms, they survive on their determination and quick wits. New immigrants and first-generation Americans bring life into focus. Through their eyes, we see ourselves again for the first time.
If microaggressions are hard for Americans to identify, Send Her Back gives an accessible look into the mechanics. Kaseke’s stories point out foibles, pitfalls, and thoughtlessness for what it is, while giving due credit to Civil Rights Era achievements. Her Zimbabwean characters earn PhDs, rise to the top of their fields, and outsmart their rivals. Others support themselves with vigorous studies and endless work, wiring their small paychecks to far-away families who always need more. But these fierce spirits rarely break in the fight. Kaseke gives us heroes who change our hearts, entreating everyone to act with respect and care.
In the fracas of Twitter politics, hearing any voice clearly is a challenge. Trading on emotionalism and indignation, the news circuit perpetuates itself, drowning out many who have important stories to tell. Kaseke is among the authors and thinkers of our time who bring clarity. Her lead characters show us what the media misses, even when it seeks own voices. With stories that see so much in so many of us, Send Her Back holds its own against the noise.
Thanks to NetGalley for an Advance Readers Copy of this title. Send Her Back and Other Stories launches 25 July 2022. Read it, share it, post on social media.
This review appeared first on NetGalley.