A Sense of the Whole


A Sense of the WholeSiamak Vossoughi’s second short story collection, A Sense of the Whole, is the recipient of the 2019 Orison Fiction Prize, judged by Victor LaValle.

A Sense of the Whole, published November 3, 2020 is available for order from Orison Books.

Vossoughi’s prose is laconic. His elliptical sentences isolate English words and sayings so as to make them newly strange ….

These are moral tales with uncertain answers. One might read them as anecdotal for the Iranian-American experience, but rendered in Vossoughi’s epigrammatic prose they ultimately unfold through the language of the universal. Each lights on a minor encounter — between strangers, neighbors, lovers — and what emerges is the sense that anyone you meet has a story.

—Jane Hu, New York Times, Nov. 10, 2020

On the back cover:

Siamak Vossoughi is a flat-out brilliant writer, and his latest collection, A Sense of the Whole, fills me with awe and delight. How can stories so compact be so absorbing, so tender and truthful and funny? I have no answer, only gratitude that a book like this exists, a testament to the wonders all around us, hiding in plain sight.

Tania James, author of The Tusk That Did the Damage and Aerogrammes

These are masterful short stories. Their wisdom, warmth, and beauty overwhelmed me. This is among the strongest and most artful collections I’ve read in some time.

Elizabeth McKenzie, author of The Portable Veblen and MacGregor Tells the World


stories are everywhere


Stories are everywhere: a notion perhaps too airy to be true, but little by little when ideas come down from the sky and words reach up for them, they greet each other as friends.

I was born in Tehran and grew up in London, Orange County, and Seattle, eventually moving to San Francisco in part because of the way William Saroyan described the city in his stories.

My stories have been published in many journals, and my first short story collection, Better Than War, was published September, 2015. It received a 2014 Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction. My second collection, A Sense of the Whole, received the 2019 Orison Fiction Prize and will come out in November 2020

As an Iranian-American writer, I figure it is my job to write with love for Iranians and Americans. It’s a lonely business but I wouldn’t trade it.