400 short stories: story 305

story: “Chechnya”

author: Anthony Marra

year: 2010

where: kitchen table, Abu Dhabi

note: Marra’s novel is on my list.

a line: “Time was marked not by minutes but by men. Eight one night, eleven the next. Each felt like a porcupine between her legs. Men from Rome, Naples, and Palermo. Men from Scotland, Luxembourg, and Germany. American men. Australian men. They called her Natasha, and she didn’t understand how they knew her name. Then another woman told her: That’s what any girl from Eastern Europe is called. We’re all Natashas.

& “She read the placard, written by a Victorian phrenologist. There are no characteristics to distinguish the cranium of a cannibal from that of an ordinary man.

theme(s): War, guilt, human trafficking, sisters, refugees


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