Beyond Jet-Lag: Other Stories

Beyond Jet-Lag: Other Stories has a similar structure to Concha Alborg´s first work of fiction, but it is markedly different. This book is written in both English and Spanish, not in a bilingual edition, but in a “bi-cultural” fashion. That is to say, parts of the book are in English while others are in Spanish. The author’s intention is to capture the pathos of the immigrant experience at the linguistic level, without mixing languages, as has been done many times before, but rather using language appropriate for the characters and the situation. The trip and airplane motifs are present not only in the title, but in the opening and closing chapters which, like bookends, frame the complex life of a contemporary woman. See reviews and more on this book under “Reviews” and “Writing Selections.”

Collage on the cover by Carlos Rojas

Randolph Pope said of Beyond Jet-Lag: “This is an impressive book, entertaining, moving, brave, honest, hospitable… I often leave unfinished books or I read them as an obligation. Beyond Jet-Lag had the effect of doing something that hadn’t happened to me in a long time, I ended up reading until very late at night, without realizing that it was early in the morning, because I was submerged in a fascinating world” (On the back cover).

Sofía Perrino has said of Beyond Jet-Lag: “Many of the stories are superb, leaving the reader thirsty for more. Such is the case with the excellent collection opener, in which Alborg, her parents and brother take that so-very-American, cross-country summer vacation in the 1960s in a ‘white Plymouth with red interior and huge fins.’ Generational and cultural clashes abound here, with hilarity ensuing in the Chicago Museum of Arts restaurant. This first story whets the reader’s appetite and leads him or her to expect more ‘jet-lagged’ family members searching for that common ground between two cultures. It is interesting to note the differences in tone between the stories written in English and Spanish. While not always true, the Spanish stories seem to have a more intimate feel and are laden with poignant details. The English stories, meanwhile, tend to be lighter and more humorous. Alborg’s ability to use both languages well allows her to deliver quite diverse impressions.” In Letras Peninsulares, 2002-2003: 705-707.

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