high-impact triptych of prose poetry and flash fiction probes identity
in experience. Focusing on the impressions of a woman and a soldier as
21st-century Americans, the first and second sections of the book
explore memory and dichotomy respectively. The book’s third section,
letters to a fake advice columnist, is a sarcastic interaction with an
absurd existential authority figure. As a whole, the book calls into
question our post-post-modern establishment of anti-authority
There were many reasons to write this book, but one of the most vivid occurred amidst the Abu Ghraib prison scandal.
I was reading the news and came across a picture of a female soldier seeming to gloat above torture victims. The starving, bloodied men piled at her feet were totally dehumanized: naked, hooded, likely sodomized or just back from the water board. The female soldier--a young woman, a girl really--was smiling.
I looked at that photograph as long as I could. I thought, "How could a woman do that?" Men, maybe. But a woman? No.
And then I thought back to my state of mind when I joined the Army in 1995. Rage. Aggression. Violence. Lack of respect for others. Self-loathing. You name it. Whatever bullet-point is on the back of a brochure in a psychologist's office, I qualified.
But I never went to war. Thank God. And I do not think I would ever have done what the woman in the picture was so happy to do. What I did think was, "How could I reach that woman? What might I be able to say to stop her?"
Praise and Reviews
"I was really blown away by this series of shorts." -- Ashton Amo
"The third and final section about letters to a fake advice columnist
was titled Letters When Gods Won't Do and this was my favourite section.
Some of them were hilarious and I felt that I had to pass my Kindle
across to my wife to let her read them, I think she started getting
annoyed when I ended up doing it for nearly every letter at one point."
-- David King