Meagre Tarmac, The
An Indo-American Canterbury Tales, The Meagre Tarmac explores the places where tradition, innovation, culture, and power meet with explosive force. It begins with Vivek Waldekar, who refused to attend his father’s funeral because he was “trying to please an American girl who thought starting a fire in his father’s body too gross a sacrilege to contemplate.” It ends with Pranab Dasgupta, the Rockefeller of India, who can only describe himself as “‘a very lonely, very rich, very guilty immigrant.’” And in between is a cluster of remarkable characters, incensed by the conflict between personal desire and responsibility, who exhaust themselves in pursuit of the miraculous. Fearless and ferociously intelligent, these stories are vintage Blaise, whose outsider’s view of the changing heart of America has always been ruthless and moving and tender.
"Top work from a master storyteller and border-crosser ... a gem of a book."—Margaret Atwood
"Blaise is probably the greatest living Canadian writer most Canadians have never heard of."—Quill & Quire
"The Meagre Tarmac is a naked instance of appropriation of voice—a literary felony justified in this case by the results."—Philip Marchand, National Post
"On the leading edge of world literature."—John Barber, Globe and Mail
"What holds the collection together is Blaise's mastery of the short story, his ability to give us a whole personality and the sensuous particularity of lived experiences in a handful of pages."—Steven Hayward, Globe and Mail
"It is the cultural, geographical, and historical scope of the stories that most impresses ... wickedly subtle ... this book is anything but meagre."—Toronto Star
"A collection greater than the sum of its formidable parts."—Montreal Gazette
"Masterpiece. That's a big word. In 20 years of writing book reviews I don't think I've ever used it, but I'm throwing the dart at The Meagre Tarmac."
—The Underground Book Club