Book review: The Trojan War Museum and Other Stories — by Ayse Papatya Bucak

(W. W. Norton & Company)

A collection of stories as refreshingly cool and bright as these last few weeks have been in our Land of Milk and Honey, and shot through with startling observations on the human condition that are occasionally as difficult to grasp as the strands of a dream. These stories reveal the vivid and mythic imagination of Ayşe Papatya Bucak, an author born in Istanbul, Turkey — to an American mother and a Turkish father — who grew up in the United States. Each one is like a steppingstone to a new world somehow contained within itself. In “Little Sister and Eminem” a collection of Turkish people, hired to simulate life and culture in their country as a microcosm within the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, create a community and bond with one another, telling traditional stories of their homeland while posing for American visitors. These stories are rich with symbolism and history, hidden meanings and layered vignettes. I found myself wondering as Edie did in “Mysteries of the Mountain South,” “Could any of this be true?” Reading a short story can fill small pockets of time, and in this collection, with its stylistic diversity and dynamic prose leaping off the page, you will easily find one that enchants you.

— Reviewed by Jenny Lyons of The Vermont Book Shop in Middlebury.


And Other Short Story Collections…

Exhalation: Stories, Ted Chiang

The World Doesn’t Require You: Stories, Rion Amilcar Scott

Everything Inside: Stories, Edwidge Danticat

Flights, Olga Tokarczuk

Raised in Captivity: Fictional Nonfiction, Chuck Klosterman

Fly Already: Stories, Etgar Keret

Her Body and Other Parties: Stories, Carmen Maria Machado

Grand Union: Stories, Zadie Smith

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