Boston Book Festival

One City One Story is the BFF's version of an all-city read, but instead of a book, we print and distribute a short story.

The pick for One City One Story this year is "Karma" by Rishi Reddi. Distribution starts the week of September 2, 2013 in locations in and around Boston!
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“Karma” is the title story in a collection that was published by Ecco/ HarperCollins in 2007, which I wrote over the course of ten years after moving to Boston and graduating from law school. Karma and Other Stories’ central themes of familial relations, the search for home, and the disorientation of the immigrant experience were all issues with which I was grappling at the time. The collection comprises seven interconnected stories about an immigrant Indian community living in and around Boston, and explores these themes from the viewpoints of the young and old, and men and women and adolescents.
Until my move to Boston to enter law school as a young adult, I had had a bit of a nomadic existence; I was born in Hyderabad, lived as a young child in London, and then moved with my family to several U.S. cities and towns on the East and West coasts and in the Midwest. During the ten years that I wrote the book, Boston had become my home in a tangible and permanent way. Although I had a deep sense of roots in India, I had not known a real home like this before. So, I used the exercise of writing the book as a way to create the community I wished I had as a child.
“Karma” was a story that grew out of an article that I read in the Wall Street Journal about a volunteer organization that seeks to save the lives of the thousands of birds that are killed each year during the migration season. At the time I read the article, I was writing the early draft of a story that dealt with two brothers who are very different from each other: the older is a dreamer who struggles to deal with the harsh aspects of life; the younger is a hard-nosed realist who is financially and socially successful. I was intrigued with the possibility of folding the migrating birds’ account into this classic tale of two brothers. It was only later that I realized that the plight of the migrant birds could be an obvious metaphor for the immigrant experience itself.