Stephen Henighan’s new book, A Grave in the Air (Thistledown), is a collection of short stories set in Canada, England, Germany, Poland, Romania and Bosnia-Herzegovina, which deal with themes of migration, immigration, foreignness, love, lust, adultery, violence, torture and more. Of the eight stories, two stand out. “Nothing Wishes to be Different” is an account of a Romanian man who fights in the Second World War, then returns to Romania, gets married and has children, then takes up the fight against the Communists and is caught, jailed and tortured; Henighan’s strong narrative prose moves this story forward with rhythm and purpose, and he leaves out much of the detail that weighs down some of the other stories. “A Grave in the Air,” a novella with alternating narrative arcs, is indicative of the mixed quality of the remainder of the book. One arc follows a reporter, Darryl, who covers the Bosnian war as he takes a summer off in Germany; Henighan offers an affecting portrait of a man who is emotionally exhausted by his job; but the dialogue is flat, and details hinder the storytelling. The other arc follows Darryl a few years earlier, during the war in Bosnia. There a Bosnian man tells Darryl about his father, a Muslim holy man who wandered throughout Bosnia-Herzegovina until Chetniks killed him during World War II. The story is intriguing because it is set in Bosnian history, but also because one character tells it to another: the narrator tells us in plain language what happened, without the literary techniques that are commonly deployed for effect but often cloud a story.