BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog

By Travis DuBose

Early in Far Country: Stories from Abroad and Other Places, Timothy Kenny’s collection of essays about his time as a journalist in conflict zones, he recalls a conversation with an Afghan colleague in which a seemingly benign comment on Kenny’s part brings the conversation to an abrupt halt. “It is not the first time I have been chastened by not knowing what I do not know,” he reflects, offering a succinct encapsulation of the feelings of many who cross borders. In reading about Kenny’s own struggles to adapt, I remembered time I spent in Taiwan, asking cultural questions of the one person among my colleagues who seemed most willing to talk about practices and traditions that confused me.

I continued asking for explanations over the weeks that I worked with her, especially about the very public religious displays I passed on my way into work…

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