Guest Editor: Stuart Dybek
Series Editor: Tara L. Masih
(Blogger Note: I apologize for the delay in posting. I have not devised a workable writing/editing calendar that acknowledges the chaos of real life. I hope writing extra content will rectify this in the future.)
My reading of this book, as well as other flash fiction collections, is partly influenced by my desire to become proficient at this form. Ironically, I read this collection before putting my hands on the first volume, published in 2015.
As a reader, each story is a pleasure in itself. I loved picking up this book each time I had a chance to read because I experienced that thrill of wondering what I would read next with each story. The genre itself is fascinating because it encompasses a wide range of forms, bending genres in experimental mashups which, when done well, can feature an entire narrative arc, character change or descriptive oeuvre in the fraction of the space of a short story or novel. One thing this collection does very well is to provide a representation of the range of writing that can be entertained in this short form.
It is very difficult for me to choose a favorite story. These collections are to be considered essential readings in the form, therefore each story is a mini-masterwork, poised not only to entertain and enchant but to potentially serve to instruct the apprentice in the art of creating excellent flash.
This collection is a study in the greatness of compression, the magic of small things, the excellence of fashioning art from the ever elusive moment.
“…that a black man must fear the blue, the arms, the suffocate, the taser, the fingers cocking pistol, the judge, the jury, so our herald is loud and brave, and can not shut up, or else we might not see it coming, and get swallowed alive.” (“The Herald”)
“Your wars have never built an opera, she said. “There’s no arias birthed in gunpowder.” (A Thing Build to Fly is Not a Promise)
“Most men complimented my sexual vigor, thinking I owed it to them. All of them credited themselves afterwards, but the dour clown just lay there. For a moment, I thought I loved him.” (World’s Worst Clown)
“He’s David again. The boy she met in eleventh grade. She was new in town and he took her to a dance where the feeling of his body pressed to hers made everything possible.” (Reunion)
“…and we all fall with it, we’re all desperate, all wanting to swim with at least an illusion of tiny arms and legs, with body strength and real body…” (The Waterfall)
“This story is the best story in the book.” (The Story, Victorious)