The following is a guest post by SAJAer T DAVAR, a writer and expert on all things Parsi.
Florida-based Fracis was the first South Asian author (and the first Asian, he thinks) to win the Iowa Short Fiction Award, juried via the renowned Iowa Writers' Workshop. In 2001, his short story collection, Ticket to Minto: Stories of India and America, won the Award and was published by the
Slice is a lively, theme-centered literary magazine whose featured authors have included Salman Rushdie and Junot Diaz, among others.
The story Fracis read, "Distant Vision," is from his upcoming novel, A Man of the World. The story, about an Indian Parsi Zoroastrian boy’s damaged eyesight, and the harm that damaged perspective can cause, is a theme central to his in-progress novel. Another excerpt, "Country Roads," will be in the South Asian Review’s next fiction issue.
This reading, at the Center for Fiction in midtown, featured Fracis and other Slice Fall 2009 contributors Sara Lippmann, Anthony Carelli, Matthew Lansburgh, Charity Shumway, and Claire Dunnington.
Fracis was jazzed by the spirited event: “The Center for Fiction's spacious reading room overflowed with people seated all the way down the connecting corridor to the wine table. A nice scattering of desis were among the audience, including a couple of old friends and a handful of NYC Parsis who came up and chatted afterward. They said they really enjoyed my story, including the Parsi characters and setting (the
Fracis’s upcoming novel takes themes he dealt with previously – navigating racial and cultural identity, transitions, and limbo – into a starker and more complex realm. A Man of the World is a psychological novel about an immigrant's lasting reaction to a petty assault. Viraf Adajania has the bad timing to arrive in the
Fracis had started the novel years ago, then set it aside for many more years. He took it up again while an artist-in-residence at the legendary Yaddo artists’ community (he believes he’s the first Parsi to be invited). “I hope it can be a novel for these international and violent times; a story of a world that is nevertheless slowly coming together,” notes Fracis. Stay tuned.