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No use pretending

ISBN: 9781609389178
Format: Paperback
Publisher: University of Iowa Press
Origin: US
Release Date: October, 2023

Book Details

(Iowa Short Fiction Award) The characters in these stories have been forced into conditions of life that they find unbearable, and the stories chart their often tragically misguided attempts to relieve their suffering via connections with other people or through the pursuit of addictive attachments (to opiates in one story, to sleep in another). This collection encompasses diverse genres, from ecologically informed realism to a Kafkaesque fairy tale, from fabulist “weird fiction” to an episode from The Odyssey that becomes a meditation on what distinguishes human beings from animals. These stories invite the reader to reconsider moral and ideological certainties, to take a fresh look at such issues as fracking and drone warfare. In one story, a petroleum engineer discovers that one of his wastewater wells may be causing earthquakes, and in another the pilot of an Air Force drone seeks to reconcile his conflicting roles as protector and executioner, husband and soldier. The scientist and the serviceman are both presented with problems that have no easy or obvious solutions, situations that force them to confront the messy, compromising complexity of being human.