My July column of short stories is up at PopMatters. This month's theme is 'refugees'. Each of these stories (all free to read online) shows a different side to the life of a refugee: despair and heartbreak, but also joy and love. Stories by these award-winning writers: Viet Thanh Nguyen, Guadalupe Nettel, Bernard Malamud, Choi Jin-young, and Mohsin Hamid. As usual, I also point out a couple of writerly things about each story from a craft perspective.
This month's short stories column is now up at PopMatters. Inspired by Vera Tobin's recent book, Elements of Surprise, about the "well-made" surprise in fiction (books and movies), these five literary selections give us unexpected surprises or twists done skillfully. As always, the stories are free to read online and by these terrific writers: Alice Munro, Jorge Luis Borges, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Lee Martin, Jennifer Lynne Christie.
Throughout time, the large-scale violence that entire groups of people inflict upon other groups has been depicted in all forms of art. In the literary arts, in particular, the aesthetics of war have long been glorified or explicated through tales of heroes and tales of disillusionment, chronicles of fighters and resistors, historically accurate accounts and revisionist retellings . . . With the short story form, there have been some game-changing, award-winning collections, from Tim O'Brien's The Things They Carried (Houghton Mifflin, 1990), about Vietnam, to Phil Klay's Redeployment (Penguin, 2014) about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. These have not sought to glorify violence but to show us the many individual and heartbreaking ways that wars are waged, witnessed, and resisted.