There is No Long Distance Now. by Naomi Shihab Nye. October 11, 2011. Harper Collin's Children's Books. 256 pages. ISBN: 9780062019653
Poet and young adult novelist Naomi Shihab Nye has written a collection of literary short stories for teens, all of which are 1000 words or less. Each story focuses on a pivotal or significant moment in the life of its main character, which serves to somehow uplift that character. Death, war, love, loss, and history are just some of the themes touched upon by these beautiful poetic stories. Some of the stories are interconnected, either because they focus on the same characters, or because the characters in one story are somehow related to the characters in another. Other stories stand all on their own. Different races, cultures, family structures and belief systems are represented, and as in Nye's other works, political and environmental issues turn up again and again.
This is a book for older teens who are used to reading more complicated prose. The stories remind me a lot of the things my fellow creative writing students used to write in college - thoughtful, deep, and filled with idealism and hope for a better future. High school kids interested in activism will eat up this collection, as will those kids who aspire to write fiction. Many of the pieces in this collection are open-ended and difficult to understand at first glance, or even after just one reading, so there is lots to think about, and lots to discuss.
My only criticism of this book is that after a while, the tone became monotonous. Every story has the same strong intellectual outlook, which can be somewhat draining to read all at once. I read this book in one sitting, but I wish I'd given myself more time to let each story settle before moving onto the next one.
I borrowed There is No Long Distance Now from my local public library.