White Blight by Athena Farrokhzad, translated by Jennifer Hayashida

White Blight was written in Swedish, by an Iranian immigrant to Sweden.  The book is written as a series of quotes from family members.  All snippets have beginnings such as "My mother said" or "My brother said." The speaker is never quoted, never speaks for herself, but comes alive through the cacophony of family voices.  Each page has one or two of these snippets, written in white text on a black strip on a white page.  The effect adds up and becomes a powerful look at immigrant life as a minority, as the speaker becomes the white space, the blank space, in the texts of the family. Buy here.

 

My father said: Your brother shaved before his beard started to grow / Your brother saw the terrorist's face in the mirror / and wanted a flat iron for Christmas

My brother said: Some day I want to die in a country / where people can pronounce my name.

 

My mother handed the glass to her mother and said: Now we are even / Here is the milk back

 

My uncle said: Is there a puddle where war has not washed its bloody hands