Guest Editor, Robert Olen Butler. Series Editor, Tara L. Masih. Queen’s Ferry Press, $14.95 paperback (160p) ISBN: 978-1938466625
In this extraordinary collection of small fictions—here defined as works fewer than 1,000 words—newbies get to rub elbows with old pros and brevity reigns supreme. Award-winning series editor Tara L. Masih passes the goods to guest editor (and Pulitzer Prize winner) Robert Olen Butler, and readers are gifted with stories that slap wings onto their backs or drop anchors into their hearts, oftentimes both. Stuart Dybek plays with misinterpreted intention inside a sandwich shop in the exquisitely uncomfortable “Brisket”. In James Claffey’s “The Third Time My Father Tried to Kill Me”, readers are drawn close to an abusive father where “The curtains were pulled shut, the room black as my mother’s insides.” A hard pill of sadness is served up in Emma Bolden’s “Before She Was A Memory” as a mother must identify her headless daughter. In “Chicken Dance”, Misty Shipman Ellingburg conjures a 100 word masterpiece about disillusionment. Humor lurks within these pages, too, as readers will find in Dan Moreau’s “Dead Gary”, where an oblivious and devout—and very expired—office drone continues to plug along. The great thing about concision, as it relates to successful writing, is its immediacy, its ability to attract the spotlight. The fifty-five authors represented here have all triumphed. They’ve sliced open secret passageways within language and kicked readers toward infinity. Yes, we’ve heard it before about the short form, and yes it’s true, “Less is more,” though here it could be “Less is” or “More is.” What we’re finding, or re-finding, is simply “It is,” and it’s wonderful. (October 2015)
Purchase The Best Small Fictions 2015 HERE.
Reviewer bio: Mel Bosworth is the author of the novel FREIGHT. Visit his website at melbosworth.com