The Distortions

Publication date: March 1st 2022

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Coverage: BuzzFeed, World Literature Today, Los Angeles Review, Lit Pub, “Research Notes” at Necessary Fiction, Interview with Denton Loving, Foreword Reviews, Big Indie Books, Southern Review of Books, Maudlin House, At the Inkwell, Small Press Picks, Shepherd.

Winner of the 2020 Orison Book Fiction Prize, selected by Samrat Upadhyay.

Upadhyay writes: “The Distortions takes us deep into the transgenerational trauma of the Croatian-Serbian war, but it does so with skill and nuance that make each story shine as a well-crafted gem. The characters in this collection feel real, and their personal urgencies—loyalty, migration, family, identity—pierce through to illuminate the larger history of ethnic cleansing that terrorized the Balkans in the ’90s. This book is a perfect example of how art can be a vehicle for remembrance, understanding, and most importantly, healing.”

“The remarkable Christopher Linforth is a storyteller at the top of his game, writing about shattered lives and broken dreams, about hopeless love and grieving families. He lets the stories unfold quietly and understands that nothing is as it seems, that the apparent plot is not the plot, and that every character possesses a concealed nobility. Here are twelve unnerving, courageous, and luminous stories to savor and to celebrate. You’re not going to read many collections as powerful, as honest, and as compassionate as The Distortions. Yes, it’s that good, and you’re going to thank me for telling you to buy this book of Chekhovian gems.”

— John Dufresne, I Don’t Like Where This Is Going

“In illuminating and perceptive prose, The Distortions bears witness to the haunt of postwar Croatia. These deeply felt stories illustrate the dilemma of a generation once removed from trauma, living amid the ghosts of war and tasked with the impossible—yet urgent—project of memorialization. Christopher Linforth is a captivating writer, attuned to both a broad view of history and the quieter intimacies of art, love, and language that make intergenerational reconciliation possible.”

— Kate McQuade, author of Tell Me Who We Were

“Christopher Linforth’s collection, The Distortions, features an impressive range of characters hurting and healing in the aftermath of the Croatian-Serbian war. A father grieves the death of his daughter by landmine; a young man tries to save the dog he’s been forced to shoot from a trench; a middle-aged man asks for forgiveness from the teen girl he’s catfished. Artists and academics strive to connect with distant relatives, with lost homelands, with new and old lovers. There’s no easy cure for the inheritance of national trauma and in story after story Linforth’s depiction of his characters’ struggles toward some measure of relief is riveting. A stunning, must-read collection.”
— Eric Schlich, author of Quantum Convention

“…chiseled, captivating stories….with compassion and brutal honesty, the stories in The Distortions deal with how war tears people apart, but also with the stubborn resistance of those who search for redemption.”

Foreword Reviews, Jan/Feb 2022

“This story collection, Christopher Linforth’s third, powerfully probes the pain of those scarred by the Croat/Bosnian Serb War and its aftermath, as memory embeds the horrific twentieth-century past within a grim present. These meticulously constructed characters live beyond the text; their ambiguous fates invade our consciousness.”

World Literature Today, May/June 2022

The Distortions is a work of readily apparent truth, honesty, and significance.”

Southern Review of Books, May 2022

“In The Distortions, Christopher Linforth explores the mundanities of life that continue to exist after war, where generational grief continues to linger. In the removed shadow of the Yugoslavian Civil War, we meet humanity living in a world that is trying to rebuild on a broken foundation.”

Maudlin House, June 2022

“Linforth crafts beautiful prose…His first-hand knowledge about this area of the world and the people that live there clearly exhibits a lived experience of the consequences of war depicted in twelve touching stories.”

At the Inkwell, June 2022

“…searing, emotionally resonant story collection…Linforth considers how chasms may exist between family members, or between (current or former) lovers–and how it may be possible to never fully connect with, much less understand, those with whom we share blood, or with whom we’ve shared our lives.”

Small Press Picks, July 2022

“This richly textured collection reminds us of the tether to our geographical homes.”

BuzzFeed, July 2022

“All the while thematizing distortion, Linforth writes with a clarity that, in service to characters, never need slip in some smokescreen for clever effect. Time’s passage, will, intellect—for characters these are bound to their terms in an honest-heartedness recalling Andre Dubus.”

Lit Pub, August 2022

For foreign rights contact the publisher, Luke Hankins, at orisonbooksonline [at] gmail.com

Orison Books
paper  /  194 pp.  /  $18.00
Print ISBN: 978-1-949039-31-3
E-book ISBN: 978-1-949039-32-0
Distributed to the trade by Itasca Books
952-223-8373  /  orders@itascabooks.com
Publication Date: March 1, 2022

Book description: In The Distortions we glimpse a pageant of characters struggling to understand their lives after the dissolution of Yugoslavia. Scarred by the last major war fought on European soil, the women and men of these stories question what such a violent past can mean in comfortable, capitalistic modern Europe. From London and Brooklyn and Norway, to the Blue Grotto of Biševo and the war-torn fields of Slavonia, this collection blends Yugoslavian and American stories of great emotional and geographical amplitude.