I’m currently reading Jessica Taylor-Bearman’s A Girl Behind Dark Glasses, about her experience as a teenager with severe ME/CFS. I’m interested in her story not just because, as someone with a chronic illness, I’m interested in the stories of other people with chronic illnesses, but because, like most people in her situation, she has to try […]Read more "Tripping Out: Writing About Altered Perceptions"
I wasn’t going to write about the circus surrounding Arkady Babchenko’s “murder” and sudden resurrection, which continues to unfold, but I can’t stop myself. It’s just too fascinating, and as far as I can tell the Western press has already moved back to the latest absurdity produced by Trump. So here we go: A bombshell […]Read more "Art and Dissidence in Eastern Europe: #ArkadyBabchenko and #FreeSentsov"
As I posted yesterday, I’ve been caught up in the crazy, crazy, crazy story surrounding Russian writer Arkady Babchenko’s alleged murder and subsequent “resurrection,” , with the dramatic revelation at a press conference that the whole thing had been a sting operation and that Babchenko was still very much alive. Although I had not guessed in […]Read more "“Whatever I say is a half-truth”: Arkady #Babchenko and the Hybrid Truth of War Writing #BabchenkoAlive"
Arkady Babchenko As crazy fate would have it, today was the day that the article I co-wrote with WFU student Logan Stinson, “One Soldier’s War and the New Literary War Hero,” about the memoir by war correspondent and journalist Arkady Babchenko, was scheduled to come out. Crazy fate because yesterday afternoon a notification popped up […]Read more "Arkady Babchenko, One Soldier’s War, and Holy Fools"
Asan Vladimir Makanin “Asan wants money. Asan wants blood.” Within the emerging genre of “Chechen,” as in referring to the recent Chechen wars, prose, Vladimir Makanin’s “Asan” has engendered controversy. To a field zealously guarded by its veterans, the non-veteran Makanin has contributed two works: the novella “Caucasian Captive” (Кавказский пленный) and now the novel […]Read more "“Asan” by Vladimir Makanin"
Cross of Iron Willi Heinrich I have to admit that I read this book a long time ago, so perhaps it isn’t as good as I remember. But as I remember, it is incredible, a true classic of combat writing, so I thought I’d write a review of it for German Literature Month 2017. […]Read more "“Cross of Iron” by Willi Heinrich for #GermanLiteratureMonth"
The New Literary War Hero in the Age of the Global War on Terror (Image from the film “Captive,” dir. Aleksey Uchitel) While this blog was originally focused mainly on my side hustle job of writing and reviewing fantasy, readers may have noticed a certain focus on matters military in recent posts, as in my […]Read more "My Chat with Andy Owen About War, Literature, and PTSD, Part I"
What do you do when you’re an idealistic young journalist whose hometown suddenly turns into a war zone? Obviously, you grab your camera and your notepad and you start gathering stories. Only it turns out that a brutal civil war in your own country is more than just another story. There have been many appalling […]Read more "“The Sky Wept Fire” by Mikail Eldin"
In “A Small Corner of Hell,” Anna Politkovskaya continues her reportage of the Second Chechen War. While “A Dirty War,” the first collection of her articles, conveys them in more or less their original form, “A Small Corner of Hell,” while still divided into individual reports, is a more coherent, book-like narrative, with large sections […]Read more "“A Small Corner of Hell” by Anna Politkovskaya"
I Am a Chechen! In “I am a Chechen!” German Sadulaev pulls together a set of stories, based heavily on his own biographical experiences, about the Chechen conflicts. Fragmentary, lyrical, in turns desperate and magical, and often non-linear, this collection follows in the tradition of Russian writers such as Lermontov and Babel, taking bare biography […]Read more "“I Am a Chechen!” by German Sadulaev"