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A daily record of what I'm thinking about what I'm reading

To read about movies and TV shows I'm watching, visit my other blog: Elliot's Watching

Thursday, February 25, 2016

News from the Front - story in current New Yorker by Luke Mogelson

Luke Mogelson's story in current NYer, Total Solar, has the raw and authentic feel of a documentary, by someone on the battlefront, in this case an American independent journalist in Kabul, working a couple of angles to get a good story, and caught in a random bombing and violent shooting raid. Who's on whose side? It's impossible to tell and doesn't much natter - every moment in this story, and presumably in that world, is full of danger and treachery. The story has a bit of a jumbled feel, and it's pretty difficult to keep the pieces of the story in order, at least the first half of the story, before the narrator leaves the scene of the bombing and wanders through one of the marketplaces, soaked in blood. I believe the broken narrative - not too hard to put together into sequences if you do a little re-reading after completing the story - intentionally mimics the chaos of an explosion and attack. Mogelson does a great job describing the mood and scene just after the attack - sound deadened, brown cloud in the air, watching others moving in slow motion in great pain, on the edge of death - the young woman slowly removing the long splinter from her face, then waving at the approaching gunmen thinking they're there to help - they're not. A story like this - it's really one of the reasons we read fiction - to bring us the reality not of the facts but of the experience and the sensations, particularly from places where we've never been and will never go. Mogelson's either very wise, very imaginative, or very brave - or maybe all three.

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