Battleborn, By Claire Vaye Watkins


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The Independent Culture

This sturdy short story collection stories mines the more toxic seams of life in the American West.

Largely set in the author's home state of Nevada, we encounter a desert landscape bathed in nuclear ash, gouged out by hot springs and illuminated by medicinal- pink street lights.

The backdrops may be rugged, but Watkin's protagonists are low on backbone – in the story "The Past Perfect, The Past Continuous, The Simple Past" an Italian tourist abandons his friend, while in "Rondine al Nido" a young woman facilitates the sexual assault of her friend.