The Road More Travelled: Tales of those seeking refuge by David Beckler

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The Road More Travelled: Tales of those seeking refuge by David Beckler

Category: Short Stories
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Jill Murphy
Reviewed by Jill Murphy
Summary: Anthology of humane and compassionate stories exploring many issues around refugees - how a person becomes a refugee, what a refugee's journey might be like, how it feels to be a person in a country receiving refugees and the view from a child's eyes. Clear-sighted and with touches of humour, these stories are the antithesis of othering.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 124 Date: October 2016
Publisher: Pebblestone
ISBN: 0993147224

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The Road More Travelled is an anthology of short stories - and one poem - written in response to the refugee crisis as it exploded across our TV screens and newspapers throughout 2015. To the horror of the authors, the language used by many was aggressive and dehumanising, describing this mass of desperate people as a swarm or a horde. The stories together form a response to this othering. I think the introduction puts it best:

As writers we recognise the power of words and wanted to counter this poisonous narrative. This book is our attempt, in a small way, to refute the claims that refugees are less than human and are a threat to us and our way of life.

First up is a wonderful poem by Brian Bilston. It reads as a distillation of othering - who are these people? Are they suspicious? Why should we help them? We should build a wall! - but, when you get to the end, there's a request to read the whole thing again, but this time backwards. And then we see a real plea for compassion and humanity. The world can be looked at another way, as Bilston says. I loved this clever inversion and it really set me up for reading the stories to follow.

And the stories aren't uniform at all. They're not all about the horrors of life in a refugee camp or the dangers of a refugee's journey - although some of them are. This anthology tries to capture every facet of such a crisis. There's the hospitality worker in Greece who fears for his job security because refugees are putting off tourists... until one life-changing night on the beach. There's the little girl who is jealous of the attention her parents pay to the refugee child they have taken in... until music, or the lack of it, makes her see the error of her ways.

I don't want to say too much more for fear of spoiling - and it's very easy to spoil a short story, what with it being short an' all. What I do want to say is this: you should read these stories. We should all read these stories. They're compassionate and humane, but they are also interesting and thoughtful. We should amplify those voices who are countering the smallmindedness that can dismiss human suffering as none of our business. It *is* our business. And it always will be.

Recommended.

You might also want to look at Here I Stand by Amnesty International, which contains stories and poems exploring the human rights we have today, how they were won, and the importance of protecting them. It's a thought-provoking anthology with some wonderful contributors.

Booklists.jpg The Road More Travelled: Tales of those seeking refuge by David Beckler is in the Top Ten Self-Published Books 2016.
Buy The Road More Travelled: Tales of those seeking refuge by David Beckler at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Road More Travelled: Tales of those seeking refuge by David Beckler at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy The Road More Travelled: Tales of those seeking refuge by David Beckler at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Road More Travelled: Tales of those seeking refuge by David Beckler at Amazon.com.


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