Xan Rice had recently met Martin Adler when Adler was shot and killed at a rally in Somalia. Four days later Rice offered this account. We liked the vivid photo-like description the piece begins with. We liked the tight structure: Rice describes the shooting with immediacy in the present tense, goes back in time using the past tense, then moves back to present tense to complete the story. Overall there’s something postmodern about this story, with its bleak, anti-meaning ending. Rice is not after a classic narrative arc, a tidy resolution. He’s just witnessed a traumatic event; what meaning would he find at this point? We thought it an original, authentic tale.

Read “Death in Somalia,” by Xan Rice

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