2022 fiction finalist

Siamak Vossoughi | A Sense of the Whole, stories

Siamak VossoughiAbout the author
Siamak Vossoughi is an Iranian-American writer living in Seattle. He has had stories published in Kenyon Review, Missouri Review, Bennington Review, Gulf Coast, Columbia Journal, West Branch, and Idaho Review. His first collection, Better Than War, received a 2014 Flannery O'Connor Award for Short Fiction and his second collection, A Sense of the Whole, received the 2019 Orison Fiction Prize. 

About the book
The fable-like stories in A Sense of the Whole—reminiscent of the best of Kawabata, Hrabal, Lispector, and Kafka—create profound effects on the reader within very short spaces. Small in size, but not in resonance, Siamak Vossoughi's stories feature characters who refuse to believe that we are unconnected, refuse to not aspire to the notion of the human family across all manner of differences. These characters are girls and boys, men and women, Iranians and Americans, all seeking a home for the body and the soul.

"These are moral tales with uncertain answers. One might read them as anecdotal for the Iranian-American experience, but rendered in Vossoughi’s epigrammatic prose they ultimately unfold through the language of the universal. Each lights on a minor encounter—between strangers, neighbors, lovers—and what emerges is the sense that anyone you meet has a story." —The New York Times Book Review 

"[This] collection examines human connectedness with short stories that are snapshots of seemingly ordinary moments as they take on a whole new perspective. Vossoughi’s stories are masterfully crafted with a tender honesty that will speak to readers." —Booklist

"Featuring 31 literary gems of original, entertaining, thought-provoking, narrative driven storytelling, Siamak Vossoughi's A Sense of the Whole is an extraordinary and unreservedly recommended addition to personal reading lists, as well as community, college, and university library Contemporary Asian American Literary Fiction collections." —Midwest Book Review

"Siamak Vossoughi is a flat-out brilliant writer, and his latest collection, A Sense of the Whole, fills me with awe and delight. How can stories so compact be so absorbing, so tender and truthful and funny? I have no answer, only gratitude that a book like this exists, a testament to the wonders all around us, hiding in plain sight." —Tania James, author of The Tusk That Did the Damage and Aerogrammes

"These are masterful short stories. Their wisdom, warmth, and beauty overwhelmed me. This is among the strongest and most artful collections I've read in some time." —Elizabeth McKenzie, author of The Portable Veblen and MacGregor Tells the World