Byzantium: Book summary and reviews of Byzantium by Ben Stroud

Byzantium

Stories

by Ben Stroud

Byzantium
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  • Published in USA  Jul 2013
    192 pages
    Genre: Short Stories & Essays

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Book Summary

Ancient cities and fallen empires come to life in this masterful collection. In the Byzantine court, a noble with a crippled hand is called upon to ensure that a holy man poses no threat to the throne. On an island in Lake Michigan, a religious community crumbles after an ardent convert digs a little too deep. And the black detective Jackson Hieronymus Burke rises to fame and falls from favor in two stories that recount his origins in Havana and the height of his success in Kaiser Wilhelm's Germany. Ben Stroud's historical reimaginings twist together with contemporary stories to reveal startling truths about human nature across the centuries. In his able hands, Byzantium makes us believe that these are accounts we haven't heard yet. As the chronicler of Burke's exploits muses, "After all, where does history exist, except in our imagination? Does that make it any less true?"

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. Stroud follows in the footsteps of the Jim Shepards of the writing world - dexterous magicians who parkour from one time, setting, style, place or tone to another." - Publishers Weekly

"Stroud's command over both contemporary and historical narratives is reminiscent of Jim Shepard's, though his sure and robust voice proves him to be a deeply compelling and original new storyteller." - Booklist

"Byzantium is both a collection of exciting stories, and of extraordinary journeys. Ben Stroud is a smart, versatile, sure-handed tour guide, whether he's taking the reader to Germany, Havana, or Constantinople. In each story he builds a vivid, seamless world, and brings it memorably to life. This is an astonishing, transporting book." - Caitlin Horrocks, author of This Is Not Your City

"Ben Stroud is a tremendous talent. The ten exquisitely wrought tales in Byzantium stretch through the ages and across the globe. From ancient Constantinople, to Havana in the height of the slave trade, to modern-day Wiesbaden, each story unfolds in unexpected ways, with great humor and skill, and then, when you least expect it, strikes at your heart." - Hannah Tinti, author of The Good Thief

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Ben Stroud's stories have appeared in Harper's, One Story, Electric Literature, and Boston Review, among other magazines, and have been anthologized in New Stories from the South and Best American Mystery Stories. A native of Texas, he now lives in Ohio and teaches creative writing at the University of Toledo.

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