Better Than War

Stories by Siamak Vossoughi

Stories about Iranian Americans and their effort to never give up in their search for peace


“Siamak Vossoughi’s quiet but powerful stories capture the intricacy and profundity of the Iranian American experience. His characters are people just like us, struggling to make sense of an often confusing world. Their inherent decency, delicacy of feeling, and desire for understanding are what define them and what make this big-hearted collection so special. Better Than War marks the debut of a thoughtful and important new literary voice.”
—Anita Amirrezvani, author of The Blood of Flowers and Equal of the Sun

“Siamak Vossoughi’s stories reveal an unjaded sense of wonder, which I have not witnessed in any writer since William Saroyan. The characters here act to better our ethical impulses and open our eyes to the possible goodnesses in the world. Vossoughi’s compassionately realized appeal is to make vulnerable our communities—Iranian, American, and others: ‘all of whom deserve every moment of life before them, knowing somewhere that each of them is better than war, and not needing any vision of war to remind them.’”
—Benjamin Hollander, author of In the House Un-American

More / Hide


The stories in Better Than War encompass narratives from a diverse set of Iranian immigrants, many searching for a balance between memories of their homeland and their new American culture. The everyday life of each character subtly reflects viewpoints that are simultaneously Iranian and American, of all ages and circumstances. These stories deal with family, friends, relationships, urban life, prison, school, and adolescence. They also contain powerful messages about what people want, need, and deserve as citizens and human beings. For instance, in the story “Better Than War” a young Iranian boy must overcome the fear of asking an American girl on a date. His friend tells him there is no shame in pouring your heart out to someone you like. The boy must realize that expressing emotion and sorrow is worth the embarrassment because it shows loved ones that you are better than hatred—and especially better than war.

All Iranian immigrants, young or old, carry with them a vivid past in their contemporary life. These histories help provide perspective, thankfulness, and virtue to their families and friends. Vossoughi’s Better Than War is about growing up, coming of age, and raising children in America while still remembering the importance of retaining Iranian pride.

Flannery O'Connor Award for Short Fiction

Page count: 148
Trim size: 5.5 x 8.5


List price: $24.95

buy button
View Shopping Cart

List price: $19.95

buy button
View Shopping Cart

List price: $24.95
Check ebook availability

Siamak Vossoughi was born in Tehran and grew up in London, Orange County, and Seattle. He graduated from the University of Washington and has lived in San Francisco since then. Along with writing, he works as a tutor and substitute teacher. Some of his writing has appeared in Faultline, Fourteen Hills, Prick of the Spindle, The Rumpus, Missouri Review, and Washington Square. He is also the recipient of the 2013 Very Short Fiction Award from Glimmer Train. He is currently writing a novel.