All the stories are very, very good, and Phil Klay richly deserves his National Book Award.
Story #4 was made up almost entirely of acronyms. Story #5 is from the point of view of some “liberal” do-gooder who arrives in Iraq to assist in the rebuilding of that country. It’s almost entirely conversation, and the characters say “Look” as in “Look, I don’t mean . . . ” a lot. A lot a lot a lot.
Self decided to take the opportunity for a little reflection. About her own use, in RL (Real Life) of the word “Look” in conversation:
“Look, I may seem crazy to you, but I am definitely sane.”
“Look, I don’t mean to be judgmental but . . . ”
“Look, I really want to go home, but I have no friends.”
And then she realized that “Look” is one word she never, ever uses. She doesn’t hear her women friends using it, either.
Does that make “Look” a gender-ed word? (It means: I am so exasperated. For the nth time, let me show you what I mean. Rather than say all that, you could get away with just saying: Look)
Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.