Alan Gibbs is lecturer in American Literature at University College Cork. His Contemporary American Trauma Narratives, which won the IAAS’s 2015 Peggy O’Brien Book Prize, examines the representation of trauma in contemporary American fiction and non-fiction. The book looks at the way writers present the effects of trauma in their work and challenges dominant and widespread assumptions about literary representations of trauma. It explores a range of narrative devices, as well as events in contemporary America, including 9/11, the Iraq War, and reactions to the Bush administration. Contemporary American authors who are discussed in depth include Joseph Heller, Kurt Vonnegut, Toni Morrison, Tim O’Brien, Mark Danielewski, Art Spiegelman, Jonathan Safran Foer, Anthony Swofford, Evan Wright, Paul Auster, Philip Roth and Michael Chabon. Contemporary American Trauma Narratives offers a timely and dissenting intervention into debates about American writers’ depiction of trauma and its after-effects.
A timely and important book, richly deserving of the Peggy O’Brien Book Prize, Contemporary American Trauma Narratives is published by Edinburgh University Press, and is available here.