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The Distortions
stories by Christopher Linforth


Winner of The 2020 Orison Fiction Prize, selected by Samrat Upadhyay

Orison Books
paper  /  194 pp.  /  $18.00
Print ISBN: 978-1-949039-31-3
E-book ISBN: 978-1-949039-32-0
Distributed to the trade by Itasca Books
952-223-8373  /
Publication Date: March 1, 2022




In The Distortions we glimpse a pageant of characters struggling to understand their lives after the dissolution of Yugoslavia. Scarred by the Serbo-Croatian War, the women and men of these stories question what such a violent past can mean in comfortable, capitalistic modern Europe. From London and Brooklyn and Norway, to the Blue Grotto of Biševo and the war-torn fields of Slavonia, this collection blends Yugoslavian and American stories of great emotional and geographical amplitude.




"Frayed relationships populate...The Distortions..., set in and around Zagreb during and after the Serbo-Croatian War. [...] These vivid stories remind us how quickly perceived difference can lead to conflict."

The Washington Post


"This richly textured collection reminds us of the tether to our geographical homes."



"Linforth's chiseled, captivating stories follow scarred, haunted people who are struggling to heal from the Yugoslav Wars. […] With compassion and brutal honesty, the stories in The Distortions deal with how war tears people apart, but also with the stubborn resistance of those who search for redemption."
Foreword Reviews


"This story collection...powerfully probes the pain of those scarred by the Croat/Bosnian Serb War and its aftermath, as memory embeds the horrific twentieth-century past within a grim present. These meticulously constructed characters live beyond the text; their ambiguous fates invade our consciousness."

World Literature Today


"The Distortions is a work of readily apparent truth, honesty, and significance. […] By refusing to shy away from the reality of war and what it can do to the human condition, Linforth does right by his serious and momentous subject."
Southern Review of Books


"[A] remarkable and revelatory collection."

Small Press Picks


"All the while thematizing distortion, Linforth writes with a clarity that, in service to characters, never need slip in some smokescreen for clever effect. Time’s passage, will, intellect—for characters these are bound to their terms in an honest-heartedness recalling Andre Dubus."

Lit Pub


"The Distortions takes us deep into the transgenerational trauma of the Croatian-Serbian war, but it does so with skill and nuance that make each story shine as a well-crafted gem. […] This book is a perfect example of how art can be a vehicle for remembrance, understanding, and most importantly, healing."
Samrat Upadhyay, judge of The 2020 Orison Fiction Prize


"In illuminating and perceptive prose, The Distortions bears witness to the haunt of postwar Croatia. These deeply felt stories illustrate the dilemma of a generation once removed from trauma, living amid the ghosts of war and tasked with the impossible—yet urgent—project of memorialization."

Kate McQuade, author of Tell Me Who We Were


"There’s no easy cure for the inheritance of national trauma, and in story after story Linforth’s depiction of his characters’ struggles toward some measure of relief is riveting. A stunning, must-read collection."
Eric Schlich, author of Quantum Convention


“The remarkable Christopher Linforth is a storyteller at the top of his game, writing about shattered lives and broken dreams, about hopeless love and grieving families. […] You're not going to read many collections as powerful, as honest, and as compassionate as The Distortions. Yes, it's that good, and you're going to thank me for telling you to buy this book of Chekhovian gems.”
John Dufresne, author of I Don't Like Where This Is Going




A former resident of Zagreb, Christopher Linforth is the author of two previous story collections, Directory (Otis Books/Seismicity Editions, 2020) and When You Find Us We Will Be Gone (Lamar University Press, 2014). Linforth's stories have appeared in Notre Dame Review, Witness, The Arkansas International, Fiction International, Consequence, and Best Microfiction 2021, among other places.

The Distortions, stories by Christopher Linforth

$18.00 Regular Price
$15.00Sale Price
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