Flashes of War, by Katey Schultz
Sadly, there’s a lot to write about war in recent years, and there’s sameness to much of what’s written about it, whether fiction of non-fiction. The horror of combat, in which one’s mortality is constantly at the fore. The comradeship between combatants, something hopelessly misunderstood by most readers. And the alienation of combatants upon their return home, home a reality that doesn’t seem as real as that within a war theater.
Katey Schultz writes of these tropes, but she does it with deep insights into the humanity of those involved. Her stories here are set in Afghanistan, Iraq, or “back in the world” today’s soldiers left to fight its generation’s war. Never one-sided, her stories are sketches of these people, the American combatants, the Iraqi and Afghani civilians, the families back home in the U.S., all of whom cope with the trials of trying to etch normalcy into a war environment.
Surprisingly, these sketches are often in the form of flash fiction, i.e., 500-750 words, and these are the most powerfully wrought pieces in her collection.
I find no fault with this writing; she’s crafted each piece carefully and thoughtfully, and the voice each piece speaks is seamless, near-perfect, in both narrative and dialogue.
My rating: 20 of 20 stars