Americans have a luxury of living in a black and white world, where there are only two sides to every issue, and it’s clearly defined that we are the good side. I suppose the sentiment comes from our front in the Second World War, or perhaps it’s simply a purely natural national sentiment, experienced by most nations everywhere.
My new book Hunger is a collection of short stories that explore the relation between man and animal, and that that relation is easily broken down when deprived, when a person’s hunger, in a both physical and spiritual sense, becomes so strong that we cannot resist it. In the very most basic terms, this is illustrated in the book by stories of cannibalism. The last stand by many groups and individuals is a destruction of the self.
In modern society, many people confuse self-criticism and evaluation with self-destruction. By looking back on our own history and re-evaluating it, learning more from it, we can learn better how to deal with others and how to confront situations in the future. It may bring us to deal with some fundamental issues that we thought we knew and now understand that we know very little, and that can be quite terrifying to many people. Imagine that world of wonder we felt as a baby and then being told that we have to re-enter that world of ignorance and darkness, that in fact, we never left it, though all this time we've been thinking we were outside enjoying the light.
I wrote the collection of short stories found in Hunger while working on a future WWII book. Because the main characters in the book are from the Caucasus, it was necessary to draw the focus on the Eastern front, which I think for Americans at least, is a largely undiscovered territory. And it's a difficult one to deal with. As Americans, we're used to translating everything into a binary situation--Us vs. Them. The reality of the Eastern Front though makes this increasingly difficult. There were no good guys. At least not in the governments. We had two titans of evil facing off against each other, Hitler versus Stalin, and whole masses of people doing terrible things thinking they were on the side of the righteous.
In Hunger, there aren't just World War II stories about cannibalism though. There are, but I've limited that to only two stories to give the collection a full scope, and because it can get rather wearisome to continue to write on such a subject. There's also a World War I story, a post-apocalyptic story, and two stories concerning Georgia. "Broken Furniture" focuses on a man bent on revenge for crimes suffered during the much more recent Georgian civil war, and "The Things We Do" is taken from my time in Peace Corps while volunteering there.
Check out the video preview for the book:
You can get your own copy of Hunger from Amazon, available both in paperback and Kindle formats: