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Flash Fiction: 72 Very Short Stories

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"These stories are not merely flashes in the pan; there's pay dirt here!" —DeWitt Henry, editor of Ploughshares "These stories are not merely flashes in the pan; there's pay dirt here!" —DeWitt Henry, editor of Ploughshares


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"These stories are not merely flashes in the pan; there's pay dirt here!" —DeWitt Henry, editor of Ploughshares "These stories are not merely flashes in the pan; there's pay dirt here!" —DeWitt Henry, editor of Ploughshares

30 review for Flash Fiction: 72 Very Short Stories

  1. 5 out of 5

    Glenn Russell

    Flash Fiction - Three American editors collect 72 very short pieces (either one or two pages long) that have been called skippers, snappers, blasters or short-short stories or flash fiction. However, call them what you will, these poppers pack a wallop, sometimes an emotional wallop, sometimes a walloping conundrum and sometimes a far out, weird wallop. By way of example, here are two from the collection in their entirety (both are within the public domain) that exemplify much of the spirit of th Flash Fiction - Three American editors collect 72 very short pieces (either one or two pages long) that have been called skippers, snappers, blasters or short-short stories or flash fiction. However, call them what you will, these poppers pack a wallop, sometimes an emotional wallop, sometimes a walloping conundrum and sometimes a far out, weird wallop. By way of example, here are two from the collection in their entirety (both are within the public domain) that exemplify much of the spirit of these flashing flashers. When reflecting on these juicy fictional smackers, you can ask yourself: How does each story deal with conflict and change? How do the characters view their own sense of identity once they undergo a change either brought on by external circumstances or their own action? Can you imagine witnessing the events in these stories if you were physical present in Larry Fondation's diner or Russell Edson's dining room? Is it any coincidence that in both stories food and eating play a central role? What do you think of the way the authorities treated Javier? What do you make of the old man not wanting to hear pain? The list of philosophical question could continue; however, better for you to first read these zingers. DEPORTATION AT BREAKFAST by Larry Fondation The signs on the windows lured me inside. For a dollar I could get two eggs, toast, and potatoes. The place looked better than most - family-run and clean. The signs were hand-lettered and neat. The paper had yellowed some, but the black letters remained bold. The green and white awning was perched over the door, where the name "Clara's" was stenciled. Inside, the place had an appealing and old-fashioned look. The air smelled fresh and homey, not greasy. The menu was printed on a chalkboard. It was short and to the point. It listed the kinds of toast you could choose from. One entry was erased from the middle of the list. By deduction, I figured it was rye. I didn't want rye toast anyway. Because I was alone, I sat at the counter, leaving the empty tables free for other customers that might come in. At the time, business was quiet. Only two tables were occupied; and I was alone at the counter. But it was still early - not yet seven-thirty. Behind the counter was a short man with dark black hair, a mustache, and a youthful beard, one that never grew much past stubble. He was dressed immaculately, all in chief's white - pants, shirt, and apron, but no hat. He had a thick accent. The name "Javier" was stitched on his shirt. I ordered coffee, and asked for a minute to choose between the breakfast special for a dollar and the cheese omelette for $1.59. I selected the omelette. The coffee was hot, strong, and fresh. I spread my newspaper on the counter and sipped at the mug as Javier went to the grill to cook my meal. The eggs were spread out on the griddle, the bread plunged into the toaster, when the authorities came in. They grabbed Javier quickly and without a word, forcing his hands behind his back. He, too, said nothing. He did not resist, and they shoved him out the door and into their waiting car. On the grill, my eggs bubbled. I looked around for another employee - maybe out back somewhere, or in the wash room. I leaned over the counter and called for someone. No one answered. I looked behind me toward the tables. Two elderly men sat at one; two elderly woman at the other. The two women were talking. The men were reading the paper. They seemed not to have noticed Javier's exit. I could smell my eggs starting to burn. I wasn't quite sure what to do about it. I thought about Javier and stared at my eggs. After some hesitation, I got up from my red swivel stool and went behind the counter. I grabbed a spare apron, then picked up the spatula and turned my eggs. My toast popped up, but it was not browned, so I put it down again. While I was cooking, the two elderly women came to the counter and asked to pay. I asked what they had had. They seemed surprised that I didn't remember. I checked the prices on the chalkboard and rang up their order. They paid slowly, fishing through large purses, and went out, leaving me a dollar tip. I took my eggs off the grill and slid them onto a clean plate. My toast had come up. I buttered it and put it on my plate beside my eggs. I put the plate at my pot at the counter, right next to my newspaper. As I began to come back from behind the counter in my stool, six new customers came through the door. "Can we put some tables together?" they asked. "We're all one party." I told them yes. Then they ordered six coffees, two decaffeinated. I thought of telling them I didn't work there. But perhaps they were hungry. I poured their coffee. Their order was simple: six breakfast specials, all with scrambled eggs with wheat toast. I got busy at the grill. Then the elderly men came to pay. More new customers began arriving. By eight-thirty, I had my hands full. With this kind of business, I couldn't understand why Javier hadn't hired a waitress. Maybe I'd take out a help-wanted ad in the paper tomorrow. I had never been in the restaurant business. There was no way I could run this place alone. American author Larry Fondation DINNER TIME by Russell Edson An old man sitting at table was waiting for his wife to serve dinner. He heard her beating a pot that had burned her. He hated the sound of a pot when it was beaten, for it advertised its pain in such a way that made him wish to inflict more of the same. And he began to punch at his own face, and his knuckles were red. How he hated red knuckles, that blaring color, more self-important than the wound. He heard his wife drop the entire dinner on the kitchen floor with a curse. For as she was carrying it in it had burned her thumb. He heard the forks and spoons, the cups and platters all cry at once as they landed on the kitchen floor. How he hated a dinner that, once prepared, begins to burn one to death, and as if that weren't enough, screeches and roars as it lands on the floor, where it belongs anyway. He punched himself again and fell on the floor. When he came awake again he was quite angry, and so he punched himself again and felt dizzy. Dizziness made him angry, and so he began to hit his head against the wall, saying, now get real dizzy if you want to get dizzy. He slumped to the floor. Oh, the legs won't work, eh? . . . He began to punch his legs. He had taught his head a lesson and now he would teach his legs a lesson. Meanwhile he heard his wife smashing the remaining dinnerware and the dinnerware roaring and shrieking. He saw himself in the mirror on the wall. Oh, mock me, will you. And so he smashed the mirror with a chair, which broke. Oh, don't want to be a chair no more; too good to be sat on, eh? He began to beat the pieces of the chair. He heard his wife beating the stove with an ax. He called, when're we going to eat? as he stuffed a candle into his mouth. When I'm good and ready, she screamed. Want me to punch your bun? he screamed. Come near me and I'll kick an eye out of your head. I'll cut your ears off. I'll give you a slap right in the face. I'll break you in half. The old man finally ate one of his hands. The old woman said, damn fool, whyn't you cook it first? you go on like a beast — You know I have to subdue the kitchen every night, otherwise it'll cook me and serve me to the mice on my best china. And you know what small eaters they are; next would come the flies, and how I hate flies in my kitchen. The old man swallowed a spoon. Okay, said the old woman, now we're short one spoon. The old man, growing angry, swallowed himself. Okay, said the woman, now you've done it. American author Russell Edson, 1935-2014

  2. 4 out of 5

    Matt

    For anyone who has never encountered the term flash fiction, it is applied to very short stories that typically range from 250 to 750 words. The subject matter is usually of the "slice of life" variety. In my mind it takes great skill on the part of a writer to set up a coherent story with properly distinguished characters within these space constraints. I especially want to underline the fact that flash fiction is a completely different animal compared to slash fiction. Damn! This review starte For anyone who has never encountered the term flash fiction, it is applied to very short stories that typically range from 250 to 750 words. The subject matter is usually of the "slice of life" variety. In my mind it takes great skill on the part of a writer to set up a coherent story with properly distinguished characters within these space constraints. I especially want to underline the fact that flash fiction is a completely different animal compared to slash fiction. Damn! This review started out all serious and thoughtful, I had really hoped that I had turned a major review writing corner...alas. Initially, I assumed that this collection, published in 1992, mainly consisted of stories submitted from at the time up and coming writers or else hard core practitioners of flash fiction. Familiar names started showing up that proved this theory incorrect, such as Raymond Carver, Margaret Atwood and John Updike. David Foster Wallace also has a story featured during what I would guess was early in his career. So obviously the editors chose many of these stories because they fit into their definition of flash. I love this book because it is sometimes nice to get a quick blast of literature when you only have five or ten minutes to spare. This seems like a far better thing than just flipping on the tv and most likely only getting to see two or three commercials. The brevity is also the downfall here. I liken flash fiction to a granola bar - great when you find yourself hungry with no time to have a real meal, but it does not stick with you for very long. I know that I enjoyed nearly every story in this book, but right now I remember almost none of them. My one major exception to this statement is a story entitled "The Paring Knife" by Michael Oppenheimer. I find this story very beautiful in it's simplicity, and I will remember it for a long time to come. The reason that I mention it is because I stumbled across this story online and wanted to share: http://www.hcc.cc.il.us/online/engl11... There are unfortunately a few typos, but hopefully not enough to detract from the story.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Kimber

    As with anthologies, sometimes you've got to take the bad with the good....I thought this book was a good way to get a feel for flash fiction, having never read it before. Flash fiction, to be a great artform, needs the power of words like in poetry but also a glimmer of a story. It certainly isn't easy to do. My favorite one in this collection is an excerpt from Joyce Carol Oates "August Evening." Other ones that I liked: "Paring Knife" by Michael Oppenheimer, "Girl" by Jamaica Kincaid, and "St As with anthologies, sometimes you've got to take the bad with the good....I thought this book was a good way to get a feel for flash fiction, having never read it before. Flash fiction, to be a great artform, needs the power of words like in poetry but also a glimmer of a story. It certainly isn't easy to do. My favorite one in this collection is an excerpt from Joyce Carol Oates "August Evening." Other ones that I liked: "Paring Knife" by Michael Oppenheimer, "Girl" by Jamaica Kincaid, and "Stockings" excerpted from Tim O'Brien.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Vanessa

    This was okay. I just think flash fiction isn't for me - with such a small word count, it was rare that any of the stories stuck with me, even while reading! Although I did enjoy a couple, mainly Bread by Margaret Atwood, Deportation at Breakfast by Larry Fondation, and Jane by Steven Molen. This was okay. I just think flash fiction isn't for me - with such a small word count, it was rare that any of the stories stuck with me, even while reading! Although I did enjoy a couple, mainly Bread by Margaret Atwood, Deportation at Breakfast by Larry Fondation, and Jane by Steven Molen.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Julie

    Apparently this was the anthology that coined the term 'flash fiction'. Which is defined here as shorter than 'sudden fiction'. The stories included are mostly from the 80's and 90's. There were 3 names I recognized: Margaret Atwood, Joyce Carol Oates, and... drat, some white guy I forget. The rest of the names were unknown to me, but this was a clearly literary anthology and I am not a literary reader. A few of the stories were English translations. I had the notion that I should take some short Apparently this was the anthology that coined the term 'flash fiction'. Which is defined here as shorter than 'sudden fiction'. The stories included are mostly from the 80's and 90's. There were 3 names I recognized: Margaret Atwood, Joyce Carol Oates, and... drat, some white guy I forget. The rest of the names were unknown to me, but this was a clearly literary anthology and I am not a literary reader. A few of the stories were English translations. I had the notion that I should take some short stories, distill the plot, and rewrite them. I figured the shorter the better for this exercise. So when I searched the library catalog, this is the best option that turned up. I did not do the exercise I had invented for myself. But I did read all the way through this in about a day. Short short stories (as I came to know them, having been first exposed to them from Asimov anthologies) are pretty awesome. Get in, get out. It works particularly well for science fiction idea stories. Which these were not. The first couple of stories were okay. Somewhat interesting. The first one was even sf/f-ish (gasp! don't tell them that!) But then I started to hit some real duds. Why duds? Because I didn't sharding understand them. Did it mean this? Did it mean something else? Does the story mean exactly what it seems to mean and nothing else? Ie, rather trite. Does the story mean what I've guessed it means? I'm not sure. Does the story mean something else entirely and I'm just too dumb to get it? Or does the story not really mean anything at all? I'm not so keen on uncertainty when it comes to stories. I'm fine with 'engaging' with the text and trying to work out what is meant. I just like to know I'm right! Or know that I'm probably not thinking what the author was thinking, and that's okay, because my idea is better. But too many of these stories left me with a sense of 'wha? huh?' and an utter vagueness about the whole thing. Still, there is something about the shortness and the sheer quantity of them that makes my brain start sparking. The problem is, to keep that up, you need more and more and more!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Sue Bridehead (A Pseudonym)

    Really solid collection, each story like a near-perfect stone you find in a riverbed somewhere; as the stone dries, the colors change. Only that metaphor fails, because everyone knows a wet stone is beautiful, a dry stone, dull. The stories in this collection go in the other direction. They start out as one thing and then they become so much more by the last paragraph, sometimes even the last sentence. The dull stones take on a sheen and leave you with a sense of mystery, like you read something Really solid collection, each story like a near-perfect stone you find in a riverbed somewhere; as the stone dries, the colors change. Only that metaphor fails, because everyone knows a wet stone is beautiful, a dry stone, dull. The stories in this collection go in the other direction. They start out as one thing and then they become so much more by the last paragraph, sometimes even the last sentence. The dull stones take on a sheen and leave you with a sense of mystery, like you read something tiny that was so much more than a simple story. The best piece for me was Michael Oppenheimer's "The Paring Knife," which is also one of the shortest. I read it multiple times and found myself moved by the last paragraph every time. Margaret Atwood's entry is also reliably excellent. "Bread" is experimental, a magic trick drawing attention to the storyteller's power. These two are my favorite in the collection by far. Other standouts, for me: "Deportation at Breakfast," Larry Fondation (a nice little Twilight Zone tale) "The Last Parakeet," Kate McCorkle (funny details, human curiosity, vague sadness) "A Continuity of Parks," Julio Cortazar (magic realism, a perfect mobius strip) "Blackberries," Ellen Hunnicutt (a day in the life of a marriage, but also the marriage's lifespan, and life itself; so good) "Draft Horse," Michael Delp (vivid sense of place, haunting story) "The Colonel," Carolyn Forche (I've heard her read this before, as a poem, and it's shocking; notably, someone who checked this library book out before me wrote "What?!" after the last sentence.) Well worth the time, but be prepared to invest a couple weeks. The stories are short but dense, and reading more than three in a row is exhausting. (It was for me, anyway.)

  7. 4 out of 5

    Brian Kohl

    Tiresomely and almost exclusively populated by "reveals" of adultery and violence. Probably a weakness of the genre (which is very short stories of 250 to 750 words). Assigned to demonstrate the necessary elements of a scene (characters, plot, and setting). Tiresomely and almost exclusively populated by "reveals" of adultery and violence. Probably a weakness of the genre (which is very short stories of 250 to 750 words). Assigned to demonstrate the necessary elements of a scene (characters, plot, and setting).

  8. 5 out of 5

    Kasandra

    A very well-curated collection, and a keeper. Lots of inspiration here, and a wealth of styles. Well worth perusing, I'll buy this one to return to repeatedly. A very well-curated collection, and a keeper. Lots of inspiration here, and a wealth of styles. Well worth perusing, I'll buy this one to return to repeatedly.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Eric Nguyen

    Flash fiction has become, in recent years, a craze among writers. Partly because of the internet era and the dwindling attention spans of readers, flash fiction, as James Thomas writes in the introduction, is a product of the times. For example, there are hundreds of literary magazines dedicated to the genre, including SmokeLong Quarterly, QuickFiciton, and the Vestal Review. There are also more (some more credible than others) on the internet. Flash fiction is a phenomenon of the current era. B Flash fiction has become, in recent years, a craze among writers. Partly because of the internet era and the dwindling attention spans of readers, flash fiction, as James Thomas writes in the introduction, is a product of the times. For example, there are hundreds of literary magazines dedicated to the genre, including SmokeLong Quarterly, QuickFiciton, and the Vestal Review. There are also more (some more credible than others) on the internet. Flash fiction is a phenomenon of the current era. But is it lasting fiction? Flash fiction, among more serious writers and beginning writers alike, has always been seen as easy publication. Admittedly, beginning writers seek to publish flash fiction due to it's seemingly relative ease and the fact that some publishers eagerly accept it due to the amount of space it takes (very little). But as James Thomas shows in this 1992 anthology, flash fiction can be a respectable genre that is not only daring, but stories in the same way longer stories are, with affect and the ability to leave an imprint on the reader's mind. Overall, the anthology shows that flash stories--these stories with less than 1000 words--can be full stories, all the same, and maybe perhaps more. The anthology includes many stories that are considered by now modern classics by authors who have made footprints in the literary sands. Among them are Francine Prose, Raymond Carver, and Maragret Atwood, just to name a few outstanding pieces. These stories in particular show writers of short prose taking chances with shorter forms, with the results not unlike their masterpieces. FOr example, Raymond Carver's "The Father" shows the king of minimalism at his most minimalist, in a story about adultry and distrust--all of which implied--in a matter of three pages (only one of which is full). Also of note here are the writers who are not so well known. These are really the treasure pieces of the book. Among them are Carol Edelstein, Richard Shelton, Jo Sapp, as well as foregin authors such as Pavo Pavlicic and Luisa Valenzuela. These are especially prizes since some of these works are no longer in print. The collection as a whole is something to be cherished, for it is one of the few in its genre. Yet for one of the few, it does a splendid job: gathered here are short, short stories, but full stories nonetheless that capture perfectly the power of language to linger in the head. The only complaint is that this collection is too old, yet can we say: classic? Jame Thomas's anthology, is indeed a classic in the genre, and needs to be read as soon as possible for anyone thinking of writing flash fiction, especially those seeing it as an easy way to get published. The collection shows that flash fiction can be just as complex and spellbinding. The publishing scene needs more books like this.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Laurie Pfister

    As a creative writing student, I find experimental genres fascinating, and this is a diverse compilation of well-thought out shorter than short stories. Each one, to me, is a quick vignette or glimpse into life. It reminded me--in my own writing, especially--that a good story is not always a long story; that sometimes the short, mundane moments are the ones that are the most universal. Each story gives the reader just enough time to think about the characters and situation without getting bogged As a creative writing student, I find experimental genres fascinating, and this is a diverse compilation of well-thought out shorter than short stories. Each one, to me, is a quick vignette or glimpse into life. It reminded me--in my own writing, especially--that a good story is not always a long story; that sometimes the short, mundane moments are the ones that are the most universal. Each story gives the reader just enough time to think about the characters and situation without getting bogged down with needless details, screeching plot vehicles, and empty description. Flash fiction, to me, is like the story that you build around an individual you saw on a bus: just interesting enough for you to flesh out every detail until he or she gets off at the next stop. Clearly, as with any anthology, some selections are better than others, and each reader will judge according to his or her life experience. I cannot remember titles, and do not have the book on hand, but I cannot get the story about collecting individual pieces of china out of my head. Beautifully written, it places war and loss in such a small frame that the reader cannot help but look at the details more closely than is comfortable.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Anstjfla

    I read the stories in this book at least once each(The stories I especially liked are I Get Smart, Snow, and this story about two old people talking about blackberries and all these things- I liked most of the stories here, actually.) This is a good collection of short stories to read when one is bored, and because they are short, they don't take a long time to read. If you have nothing to do, this book is a good book to grab! I recommend this to people who can't sit for a long time, and are eas I read the stories in this book at least once each(The stories I especially liked are I Get Smart, Snow, and this story about two old people talking about blackberries and all these things- I liked most of the stories here, actually.) This is a good collection of short stories to read when one is bored, and because they are short, they don't take a long time to read. If you have nothing to do, this book is a good book to grab! I recommend this to people who can't sit for a long time, and are easily bored- but also to people who enjoy reading. This book is like an assortment of sweets- not all of them would fit your taste, but some of them might become your favorites!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Sheldon Compton

    3.75 The .75 is for the first story alone.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Mj

    I love the genre of flash fiction. Reading it is the equivalent of bite-size candy bars, and writing it becomes an exercise in control. With this collection of flash fiction (the first that I, personally, have ever come across), you run the gamut in talent. The good ones stick with you and the bad ones are forgotten quickly. If you've never encountered flash fiction, this isn't a terrible place to start. It's just one that isn't as memorable as other collections of literature. My personal standouts I love the genre of flash fiction. Reading it is the equivalent of bite-size candy bars, and writing it becomes an exercise in control. With this collection of flash fiction (the first that I, personally, have ever come across), you run the gamut in talent. The good ones stick with you and the bad ones are forgotten quickly. If you've never encountered flash fiction, this isn't a terrible place to start. It's just one that isn't as memorable as other collections of literature. My personal standouts include "Pumpkins," by Francine Prose; "The Lampshade Vendor," by Allen Woodman; "Pendergast's Daughter," by Lex Williford; "Space," by Mark Strand; "Here," by S. Friedman, and "Deportation at Breakfast," by Larry Fondation.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Robert Hudder

    I thought this was just a mish mash of amateur short fiction writers. Made it through about two thirds and realized that there were some really decent stories. Some Carver types, Bukowski and other modern writers. I look up. Hey, it's Oates! And there is Lish. So, super short fiction. A few stand-outs; one about escaped circus bears, infidelity caught by a misstep, the demise of a nice kid, and fun at a funeral home. There are 72 stories and I don't think there was a dud. If there was, I didn't I thought this was just a mish mash of amateur short fiction writers. Made it through about two thirds and realized that there were some really decent stories. Some Carver types, Bukowski and other modern writers. I look up. Hey, it's Oates! And there is Lish. So, super short fiction. A few stand-outs; one about escaped circus bears, infidelity caught by a misstep, the demise of a nice kid, and fun at a funeral home. There are 72 stories and I don't think there was a dud. If there was, I didn't regret the five minutes to read it. I miss short stories and short fiction. I am so happy that there are all kinds of anthologies still out there. This was a fun read during my commutes.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Roux Stellarsphyr

    Quite a good collection of short-short stories including work from Stuart Dybek, Raymond Carver, David Foster Wallace, John Updike, and Joyce Carol Oates. I had this book as well as _Sudden Fiction_ for one of my creative writing classes in college. Some of the stories really hit me. Some of them annoyed me. But most of them I breezed through with indifference. Still, short-short stories make you feel like you're making progress when reading. You can read through 5 easily in bed before your eyes Quite a good collection of short-short stories including work from Stuart Dybek, Raymond Carver, David Foster Wallace, John Updike, and Joyce Carol Oates. I had this book as well as _Sudden Fiction_ for one of my creative writing classes in college. Some of the stories really hit me. Some of them annoyed me. But most of them I breezed through with indifference. Still, short-short stories make you feel like you're making progress when reading. You can read through 5 easily in bed before your eyes close.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Geoff Cain

    This was one of the first books to use the term "flash fiction." I write a lot of stories that are under 800 words so I thought it would be good to take a look at this. Some reviewers here see this form of fiction as a symptom of the internet age and our lack of attention but I disagree with that - a finely crafted story can take a lot of work and attention. Hemingway's "Short and Happy Life..." story is an example of that, or the Japanese haibun technique of writing a descriptive paragraph with This was one of the first books to use the term "flash fiction." I write a lot of stories that are under 800 words so I thought it would be good to take a look at this. Some reviewers here see this form of fiction as a symptom of the internet age and our lack of attention but I disagree with that - a finely crafted story can take a lot of work and attention. Hemingway's "Short and Happy Life..." story is an example of that, or the Japanese haibun technique of writing a descriptive paragraph with a closing haiku. Anyway, there are some real gems in here. Something for everyone.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Alan

    2006 notebook: Carver, Updike, Boll. The thing about flash is the memorable image. The Lampshade Vendor who has claw hands and used to run a flea circus; the lad who draws up at his girlfriend's glass fronted house and sees her mother slap her father; the one crossing a creek; boys come across frozen pheasants and put their coats on them to warm them up. See Micky Duck! see Donald Mouse! in another. Some are just lists: 'I've owned 11 fridges, 4 phones, 3 tables' kind of thing. But most thrill. 2006 notebook: Carver, Updike, Boll. The thing about flash is the memorable image. The Lampshade Vendor who has claw hands and used to run a flea circus; the lad who draws up at his girlfriend's glass fronted house and sees her mother slap her father; the one crossing a creek; boys come across frozen pheasants and put their coats on them to warm them up. See Micky Duck! see Donald Mouse! in another. Some are just lists: 'I've owned 11 fridges, 4 phones, 3 tables' kind of thing. But most thrill. Tim O'Brien and Rod Kessler stand out amongst the authors already mentioned.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Marissa

    Some stories were amazing, while some felt a bit pretentious.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    Absolutely. Everything in here is a gem, small and shining. From the Introduction: "Like all fiction that matters, their success depends not on their length but on their depth, their clarity of vision, their human significance--the extent to which the reader is able to recognize in them the real stuff of real life. But less can be more, we think: the meaningful glance more consequential than the long look." Absolutely. Everything in here is a gem, small and shining. From the Introduction: "Like all fiction that matters, their success depends not on their length but on their depth, their clarity of vision, their human significance--the extent to which the reader is able to recognize in them the real stuff of real life. But less can be more, we think: the meaningful glance more consequential than the long look."

  20. 5 out of 5

    Rob

    Some of these little stories packed a lot of punch. I bought this at a thrift store, but I had seen it at Barnes and Noble before. I was intrigued with the idea, and I think its an interesting format for the most part. Many of the stories leave something to be desired, but there are a few winners in there for sure. Overall, it was a fun read. Probably a type of writing I would like to explore as a teacher sometime in the future.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Sylvia Whitman

    Short is hard--but very satisfying. 750 words is a story I can actually finish before passing out at night. The collection includes *epiphany stories, like Ronald Wallace's "Yogurt" *symbol stories, like Rod Kessler's "How to Touch a Bleeding Dog" *trickster stories, like Luisa Valenzuela's "Vision Out of the Corner of One Eye" *moment-before-catastrophe stories, like Will Baker's "Grace Period" or Dan O'Brien's "Crossing Spider Creek" Short is hard--but very satisfying. 750 words is a story I can actually finish before passing out at night. The collection includes *epiphany stories, like Ronald Wallace's "Yogurt" *symbol stories, like Rod Kessler's "How to Touch a Bleeding Dog" *trickster stories, like Luisa Valenzuela's "Vision Out of the Corner of One Eye" *moment-before-catastrophe stories, like Will Baker's "Grace Period" or Dan O'Brien's "Crossing Spider Creek"

  22. 4 out of 5

    Heather

    Found this among the boxes and boxes of books that belonged to my mother-in-law. Intrigued by the concept, decided to give it a read. Short stories are difficult to write well, VERY short stories, harder still. Some of these were merely good. Others were not so great and there was one that was just awful. It was worth the time to read this anthology to peruse this genre. Favorite story out of them all? Offerings by Marlene Buono

  23. 4 out of 5

    Bonnie

    This is a collection of 72 ultra short stories, none more than 1250 words in length, from authors famous to unknown. It's interesting to see in each how well (if at all) the author succeeds in creating a vignette, a slice of life, while adhering to the conventions of the short story. Most are interesting reads but average in impact; about 4 of them are real gems. This is a collection of 72 ultra short stories, none more than 1250 words in length, from authors famous to unknown. It's interesting to see in each how well (if at all) the author succeeds in creating a vignette, a slice of life, while adhering to the conventions of the short story. Most are interesting reads but average in impact; about 4 of them are real gems.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Zach

    Lots of great shorts in here, and a few that ended with me wondering what that was all about. But, being that none of the stories were more than a few pages, I never really ever felt like I had been cheated out of any of my time. Fantastic if you're looking for something to read on the subway since good stopping points are often. Lots of great shorts in here, and a few that ended with me wondering what that was all about. But, being that none of the stories were more than a few pages, I never really ever felt like I had been cheated out of any of my time. Fantastic if you're looking for something to read on the subway since good stopping points are often.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Kevin

    The thing with a collection of short-shorts or flash fiction seems to be that a lot of the stories, often more than half, rely on a Twilight Zone-ish twist at the end. It feels gimmicky after a while. The real treats in collections like this for me are the stories that mimic the depth and escalation of a longer story, or a poem, but in a short space. There are a good number of those here.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Dana

    Mostly, I loved these stories. I particularly liked "Crossing Spider Creek" and "Snapshot: Harvey Cedars 1948." Absolutely brilliant. In some instances, I actually think the story could have been much shorter, and for that I loved Micro-Fiction. But this text is definitely an inspiring read for the short story writer in me! Mostly, I loved these stories. I particularly liked "Crossing Spider Creek" and "Snapshot: Harvey Cedars 1948." Absolutely brilliant. In some instances, I actually think the story could have been much shorter, and for that I loved Micro-Fiction. But this text is definitely an inspiring read for the short story writer in me!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Susan Rukeyser

    An interesting early collection of the increasingly popular flash format. I found it very helpful in kick-starting my own exploration of this short-short length. While the collection is somewhat uneven, I enjoyed some immensely: In particular, Raymond Carver's 'The Father,' Bret Lott's 'Night,' and Tom Hawkins's 'Wedding Night.' An interesting early collection of the increasingly popular flash format. I found it very helpful in kick-starting my own exploration of this short-short length. While the collection is somewhat uneven, I enjoyed some immensely: In particular, Raymond Carver's 'The Father,' Bret Lott's 'Night,' and Tom Hawkins's 'Wedding Night.'

  28. 5 out of 5

    Cecelia

    I find a majority of these stories just a little too short for my liking. However, the handful I did admire made it worth buying and reading the book in its entirity. I also found it fascinating how many different writing styles it encompases as well as a variety of authors I have never had an experience with before.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Richard Bon

    I loved all of these very short stories selected by James Thomas, Denise Thomas, Tom Hazuka, and, according to the collection's introduction, many readers who rated them. Carver, Painter, DFW, Cortázar, Updike, Oates, Atwood – yes – but my favorite stories were The Lampshade Vendor by Allen Woodman and The Appalachian Trail by Bruce Eason. I loved all of these very short stories selected by James Thomas, Denise Thomas, Tom Hazuka, and, according to the collection's introduction, many readers who rated them. Carver, Painter, DFW, Cortázar, Updike, Oates, Atwood – yes – but my favorite stories were The Lampshade Vendor by Allen Woodman and The Appalachian Trail by Bruce Eason.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Castille

    An amazing reminder of the ability of words and the effectiveness of using them as economically as possible. Favorites: Pendergast's Daughter - Lex Williford 232-9979 - Carol Edelstein The Haircut - Mary Morris The Widow - John Updike Water - Fred Leebron The Hurricane Ride - Bernard Cooper Space - Mark Strand Fear: Four Examples - Gordon Lish Snapshot, Harvey Cedars: 1948 - Paul Lisicky An amazing reminder of the ability of words and the effectiveness of using them as economically as possible. Favorites: Pendergast's Daughter - Lex Williford 232-9979 - Carol Edelstein The Haircut - Mary Morris The Widow - John Updike Water - Fred Leebron The Hurricane Ride - Bernard Cooper Space - Mark Strand Fear: Four Examples - Gordon Lish Snapshot, Harvey Cedars: 1948 - Paul Lisicky

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