LIFE DURING WARTIME
The second novel from a major new literary talent
“Basking like a reptile in your reflected glories. I just respond. Sometimes I don’t even do that. I just do whatever I end up doing. No thought. No plan. No real motive. No overarching theories or philosophies. I can’t even stick to a routine. I lack discipline. Can you give it to me? Can you tell me what to do? Can you force me to do whatever is necessary to survive? From one day to the next, until the very end? Will you give me the beating I deserve? ”
“I wish the nurse would tie me up so tightly my blood circulation is cut off and then smash a vase over my head and suffocate me with duct tape and a pillow filled with Canadian goose feathers. I wish a mortar shell would land on this building. I wish for air force drones to bomb this town repeatedly for days on end until there is nothing left except a vast lifeless wasteland. A cratered moonscape. I wish for walls of fire to consume this yokel country. I wish a phalanx of marauding cyborgs would stroll through the towns and villages executing any living creature their sensors detect. I hate everyone but I hate myself most of all. I vouch for no one.”
“They told me that my name is Tamara. But maybe it’s not my real name. I can’t remember anything anyway. I don’t even know where my parents are. The Director told me that my parents are dead. She told me that they were shot in the square. In the city. There was a big shooting there. The people were all lined up in the square, and the soldiers who were standing up on the balconies or lying on the roofs of the buildings fired their guns. They shot everyone in the square. Nobody could escape because the army put tanks at either end of the square so nobody could run away. They all got shot. The Director says my parents are dead but I don’t believe her. One day my parents will come and get me. The Director tells me not to worry. She says I am safe now. She says nobody will ever find me.”
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Deluxe limited edition hardcover, 214 pages.
Cover photograph and design: Karolina Urbaniak