Review: Battleborn

Battleborn collects a bunch of short stories from Claire Vaya Watkins, who I’d not read before.  The stories are mostly set in the Pacific Southwest, which is to say in an enormous desert.  When I first came to live out here, I thought that the desert was barren and monolithic.  I’ve learned that it is spartan and demanding, adjectives that can be applied equally well to Watkins’s prose.

All these stories show an economy that seems to come not from the human editing process, but from an erosion and cleansing by the elements.  The stories seem not honed by a writer, but formed by the elements. Now, of course, no natural forces created these stories, but at their best they capture that simultaneous sense of timelessness and history.

Strongly Recommended.

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