The Association of Small Bombs by Karan Maharjan
Well that’s a bold undertaking. To write about terrorism from perspectives that include the terrorists, and even at times, makes them a little sympathetic, at the same time showing some victims who have qualities that aren’t sympathetic. It seems to have an over-arching point that’s right there in the title, that these small bombs are real and painful and worth discussing–but manages to do that while still feeling authentically character-driven and organic. I suppose that in itself is radical, the idea that every single person has authentic feelings and motivations and parents and embarrassments, even the ones who do terrible things on purpose. It’s not radical in my experience; a good chunk of my career is centered around doing exactly that. But it is radical in fiction. It’s a book about terrorism without a villain.
It also contains some gorgeous (at times overly gorgeous?) prose.