Welcome to the Fall 2020 Dialogues

Upcoming Events (all events held online via Zoom):  

Story Discussion and Dialogue: Friday, October 30; 6:00-7:30pm:  Thom Jones, “The Pugilist at Rest.”  Lead Facilitator: Mark Altschuler

Story Discussion and Dialogue: Friday, November 6; 6:00-7:30pm:  Siobhan Fallon, “The Last Stand”/”Gold Star.” Lead Facilitator: Peter Molin

Story Discussion and Dialogue: Friday, November 13; 6:00-7:30pm; Philip Caputo, “Lines of Departure.”  Lead Facilitator: Mark Altschuler

For copies of stories, write Tom Lapointe at tlapointe@bergen.edu.

Zoom link: https://rutgers.zoom.us/j/93876098950?pwd=clYwZnpzZ1lqV2Q2TjRYTmk0NlJxQT09

Meeting ID: 938 7609 8950

Password: 380710

For background information and study questions about the stories and authors, see the links below.

Recent Events:

Dialogue and Film Viewing: Friday, October 9; “Difficult Dialogues on the Experience of War” featuring conversation between former World War II enemies and  a viewing of Daniel Fernandez’s film Amnesia, about the aftermath of Civil War in Spain.  Hosted by Nela Navarro.

The Stories We Read and Talk About:

1.  Ernest Hemingway, “Soldier’s Home” (from In Our Time (1925))

A classic “coming-home-from-war” story about a World War I veteran whose apathy and listlessness baffle those close to him. 

Link to more about Ernest Hemingway and “Soldier’s Home.”

2.  Tim O’Brien, “How to Tell a True War Story” (from The Things They Carried (1990))

Another classic story, about a Vietnam veteran who tries to describe the truth about war to a civilian audience. 

Link to more about Tim O’Brien and “How to Tell a True War Story.”

3.  Thom Jones, “The Pugilist at Rest” (first published in The New Yorker (1991))

A former Marine and Vietnam veteran describes the death of a fellow Marine in combat and wonders how it connects to the violence that characterizes his own life. 

Link to more about Thom Jones and “The Pugilist at Rest.”

4.   Judith Ortiz Cofer, “Nada” (first published in The Georgia Review (1992))

The loss of her son in Vietnam torments a Puerto Rican immigrant mother, her extended family and her entire community. 

Link to more about Judith Ortiz Cofer and “Nada.”

5.   Larry Heinemann, “The Fragging” (first published in the Atlantic (1997)) 

A series of events cause enlisted soldiers in Vietnam to consider killing their platoon leader. 

Link to more about Larry Heinemann and “The Fragging.”

6.  Siobhan Fallon, “The Last Stand”/”Gold Star” (from the short-story collection You Know When the Men Are Gone (2011))

Two linked stories in which a wounded Army Iraq veteran first is left by his wife and then visits the widow of his killed-in-action squad leader.  

Link to more about Siobhan Fallon and “The Last Stand” and “Gold Star.”

7.  David Abrams, “Roll Call” (first published in Fire and Forget (2013))

A group of soldiers in Iraq gather after a memorial service for a fallen comrade and try to make sense of the many casualties their unit has suffered.

Link to more about David Abrams and “Roll Call.”

8.  Mariette Kalinowski, “The Train” (from the fiction anthology Fire and Forget (2013))

A female former Marine, now living in NYC, tries to get on with her life, but is tormented by the memory of the friend she lost in Iraq. 

Link to more about Mariette Kalinowski and “The Train.”

9.  Jacob Siegel, “Smile, There Are IEDs Everywhere” (from the fiction anthology Fire and Forget (2013))

Army Iraq veterans reunite in NYC and over the course of a long night take stock of their memories, their present state, and their hopes for the future. 

Link to more about Jacob Siegel and “Smile, There Are IEDs Everywhere.”

10.  Phil Klay, “Prayer in the Furnace” (from the short-story collection Redeployment (2014))

A Marine chaplain, challenged by an infantry grunt, grapples with his complicity in war violence and ability to aid the fighting men most touched by it. 

Link to more about Phil Klay and “Prayer in the Furnace.”

11. Phil Klay, “Redeployment” (from the short-story collection Redeployment (2014) and also the anthology Fire and Forget (2013))

A Marine returns from a tough tour in Iraq and is confronted by problems at home that remind him of events that happened on deployment.

Link to more about Phil Klay and “Redeployment.”

12.  Elliot Ackerman, “Two Grenades” (from the fiction anthology The Road Ahead (2016))

A Marine in Iraq endangers his fellow Marines and compromises his integrity to taste combat before he redeploys. 

Link to more about Elliot Ackerman and “Two Grenades.”

13.  Nathan Bethea, “A Funeral Conversation” (from the fiction anthology The Road Ahead (2016))

Told from the viewpoint of a US Army lieutenant in Afghanistan, the story illustrates how the officer and his men learned to hate and abuse Afghans.  

Link to more about Nathan Bethea and “A Funeral Conversation.”

14.  Kristen L. Rouse, “Pawns” (from the fiction anthology The Road Ahead (2016))

Afghan truckers who resupply US Army forces try to evade the impact of a war they are in fact deeply engaged in supporting and continuing. 

Link to more about Kristen L. Rouse and “Pawns.”

15.  Christopher Paul Wolfe, “Another Brother’s Conviction” (from the fiction anthology The Road Ahead (2016))

A black veteran of Iraq, confronted by the stark reality of racial oppression in America, ponders his participation in what he now sees as an unjust war. 

Link to more about Christopher Paul Wolfe and “Another Brother’s Conviction.”

16.  Philip Caputo, “Lines of Departure” (from the story collection Hunter’s Moon (2019))

Two Vietnam veterans encourage an Iraq vet to tell his story at a veteran’s retreat in Northern Michigan. 

Link to more about Philip Caputo and “Lines of Departure.”


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