Cover image for Looking for war : and other stories
Looking for war : and other stories
Unger, Douglas.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
Princeton, NJ : Ontario Review Press ; New York, NY : Distributed by W.W. Norton, [2004]

Physical Description:
189 pages ; 22 cm
Leslie and Sam -- Tide pool -- The perfect wife -- Cuban nights -- The writer's widow -- Autobiography -- Matisse -- Looking for war.
Format :


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FICTION Adult Fiction Central Library

On Order



Presents a collection of stories dealing with the subject of war, including Leslie and Sam, The writer's widow, and Looking for war..

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Unger's first novel, Leaving the Land0 (1984), was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize; Voices from Silence 0 (1995) received acclaim from the likes of poet Hayden Carruth, and now he presents his first short-fiction collection, a book diverse in subject and approach. From a short story about a lab assistant who realizes the highly sentient nature of an aged research monkey to an autobiographical piece about his childhood on the streets of New York to a novella of the fallout of war as experienced by a mentally damaged Vietnam veteran, Unger thoughtfully confronts real-life tragedy by stirring the emotional pot to see what bubbles to the surface. Sometimes the writing is less than musical and the narratives less then resolved, but Unger's stories are nevertheless poignant and well expressed, provoking thought on serious issues as well as emotional reactions. In short, this strong and engaging debut collection delivers. --Janet St. John Copyright 2004 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

The bellicose theme of the title novella permeates all eight tales in this occasionally detached collection by Unger (Leaving the Land; Voices from Silence). In "Looking for War," an innocent question at a dinner party prompts the narrator to retreat into memories of war in Vietnam and Paraguay ("The smell of blood was everywhere, heavy, iron-filled, vaguely fishy, unmistakably human"), and bitterly judge the callous American insularity of his fellow guests. "The Writer's Widow" is a delicious send-up of the complicated etiquette that rules the writing world, in which the central question is whether "the character of writers has anything to do with their eventual reputations." The perennial dance of human courtship is on display in "Leslie and Sam," as is the heart-wrenching bond between scientists and the primates they use as lab animals. And in "Autobiography" and "Matisse," the author mines his own childhood efficiently and chillingly, portraying irresponsible grown-ups who lambaste their children with "heavy boozy blasts of their unhappiness." Overwrought language ("Resentment was like a black spider spinning away inside their love," from "Tide Pool") detracts in a few of the narratives, and the strangely distant authorial voice creates a barrier to true connection. The interesting settings and involved characters, however, demand attention with their colorful flourishes and voices. Agent, Nina Collins. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved