The Torturer's Wife

Thomas Glave, Author . City Lights $15.95 (261p) ISBN 978-0-87286-466-5

Glave's second collection is a disquieting, graphic, semiexperimental compendium examining violence and ignorance in and out of wartime. After opening with a contemporary relationship drama, Glave makes the jarring transition to armed conflicts, invasion and genocide. What most unifies these works is what's left unsaid—secrets are a constant, and there are virtually no names. Glave's style, full of interruptions, ellipses, unconventional text treatments and poemlike breaks, sends each story whirling thickly toward its end: in the title story, a woman called “She” is haunted by grotesque nightmares of dismembered body parts raining on her house and garden, after discovering her high-ranking husband's wartime atrocities. In the allegorical “Milk/Sea; Sentience,” the dreams of a sleeping village of women heal war's wounds. “Between” takes a step back to focus on a couple, telling the story of two racist gay men in an interracial relationship; cleverly, Glave refers to both as “one of them.” Laced with grisly details, this daring but uneven collection may not find a wide audience, but makes an intriguing experiment in post-postmodern war fiction. (Nov.)

Reviewed on: 09/29/2008
Release date: 01/01/2009
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Ebook - 240 pages - 978-0-87286-640-9
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