Below is a brief excerpt of a stunning review of Glori Simmons’s Carry You. The review was originally published on August 29, 2018. To read the full review, visit their site here.
The interconnected stories in Carry You, Glori Simmons’s latest collection and winner of the 2016 Autumn House Fiction Prize, shift between compelling character-driven perspectives of two families as they are forced into war and its aftermath. The tone is set early on in “Female Driver,” the collection’s opening story, when the mother of a family arrives home bloodied and barefoot under the intense Iraqi sun: “Realizing her hands were smeared with blood, Sahar closed them into fists… [she] wanted nothing more than to take her two children into her arms and plead for their forgiveness. Instead, she smiled and collapsed onto the couch.” Simmons never lets the violence take over, but instead builds it into the framework of her characters’ emotions, an ever-present tension. The story “Misunderstandings,” which traces a veteran’s memory of dealing with the death of his grandmother as a child, is illustrative, too: “Since returning from Iraq, Clark was constantly reminded of how it felt to be a child… Now he knew better. Lost, that’s how it had felt to be a child, lost and illiterate, destined to trust.” In keeping her prose simple and straightforward, Simmons lets the emotional struggles of her characters drive the narrative forward.