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Disturbance-Loving Species
     

Disturbance-Loving Species

by Peter Chilson
 

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Peter Chilson’s fiction debut delivers a fascinating, heart-wrenching view of modern African culture, filtered through the lens of the West. In a novella and four short stories, Chilson, who traveled to Africa first as a Peace Corps volunteer and later as a freelance journalist, uses a phrase borrowed from biology to point out how our “disturbance-loving

Overview

Peter Chilson’s fiction debut delivers a fascinating, heart-wrenching view of modern African culture, filtered through the lens of the West. In a novella and four short stories, Chilson, who traveled to Africa first as a Peace Corps volunteer and later as a freelance journalist, uses a phrase borrowed from biology to point out how our “disturbance-loving species” thrives in the most chaotic, seemingly unlivable situations. As this remarkable collection explores the experiences of Americans struggling to cope with the political and social upheaval of life in Africa and of Africans acclimating to life in the United States, Chilson captures in vivid detail the strange, exhilarating frisson between cultures.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Chilson makes a promising fiction debut with these stories about Americans and Africans who come to realize the gulf between their cultures isn't as large as it might seem (he has written a travelogue set in West Africa). In the novella "Tea with Soldiers," Carter, an ex-pat teaching in Niger, mourns the disappearance of a friend and colleague and tries to reconcile himself to his powerlessness in the face of the absurdity of death-particularly that of one of his malnourished students who succumbs to malaria. The title story features a botanist's reminiscences about his dead sister, a Peace Corps worker whose work, as the narrator describes, was akin to plants that "live where other plants cannot, breathing nutrients into torn-up soil so others might grow." Other stories portray the violence that plagues parts of Africa and explore the challenges of understanding and interpreting carnage. In "Freelancing" a journalist reflects on a photographer colleague who once asked a woman keening over a dead body to move so he could have a better angle for his shot. This affecting collection moves well beyond jaded ex-pat cliché and expertly balances the political and emotional realities of troubled people in troubled places. (Aug. 9)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780547346953
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
08/09/2007
Sold by:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
240
File size:
202 KB

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Meet the Author

PETER CHILSON is the winner of the 2006 Katharine Bakeless Nason Prize for fiction, selected by Lan Samantha Chang and awarded by the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference at Middlebury College, for Disturbance-Loving Species. His previous travelogue, Riding the Demon: On the Road in West Africa, won the Associated Writing Programs Award for creative nonfiction. Chilson teaches creative writing at Washington State University and lives in Moscow, Idaho.

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