Introducing A New Collection
Douglas Unger's fiction is sharp-edged and compelling, whether he's exploring
his own boyhood on the street ("Autobiography") or the life of a
student lab assistant who bonds with a burnt-out rhesus monkey ("Leslie
and Sam") or the strange fate of a young woman who returns from a second
honeymoon on a paradisiacal Brazilian island to succumb to a mysterious
disease ("Tide Pool"). The collection is capped by a powerful novella,
"Looking for War," where a would-be war correspondent, whose older
brother is a shell-shocked Vietnam vet, stumbles upon his own war in a grisly
five-minute action in the jungles of Paraguay. Unger is as sensitive and
knowledgeable about matters of the heart as he is about war.
"Douglas Unger's stories are a true pleasure to read. They possess not only the likeable quality of being elegantly direct and by that means of seeming natural and easily wrought, but they also portray what much of contemporary writing affects not to — wonder, and a high, complex and unironic regard for humankind in our inevitable and persistent moments of moral mystery."
— Richard Ford
"Douglas Unger's stories are brave, smart, and beautifully written. They're also portraits of America and Americans in the larger world, the sort of thing we need in fiction (and reality) these days. This is a book to treasure, re-read, and cite. Unger is one of those rare writers, one we can learn from."
— Russell Banks
"The stories in Looking for War beautifully remind us that the first job of the truly vital writer is to be fully and generously present in the world. Douglas Unger is such a writer, and these stories are a pleasure: full of loss, heartbreak, desire, cruelty, and ultimately, transcendence. Unger has converted a lifetime of intense experience into a harrowing and deeply felt collection."
— George Saunders
"The richly diverse, powerfully imagined stories in Looking for War all shine with deep compassion and a fierce moral intelligence. This is the work of a mature writer with an expert touch and a wide experience of the world. Douglas Unger combines the roles of artist and witness with unusual skill and unflinching courage."
— Tom Perrotta
"Unger explores the monsters of the new millenium with the unflinching eye of a Saki, Poe, Borges. These are macabre, disturbing stories, as heartwrenching as they are frightening."
— Sandra Cisneros