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New Sudden Fiction: Short-Short Stories from…
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New Sudden Fiction: Short-Short Stories from America and Beyond

by Robert Shapard

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This book was assigned for a contemporary fiction class I took and I only read half of it, going back to read the rest. Some of the short-shorts are amazing, others... not so. Perfect read for bus/transit.
  allisonneke | Dec 17, 2013 |
A book of 'short-short stories,' which the editor defines as stories under 2,000 words. The central question here is whether or not this is a genre. Some of the stories seem artificially compressed, as if their authors had to telegraph their thoughts to fit the word limit. Others, among the most successful, read like excerpts from longer stories or fragments of novels. (Joyce Carol Oates's is an example.) Quite a few use surrealist juxtaposition as a principal reductive strategy. Others are attempts at parables or allegories, but they tend to be awkward, ill-conceived, or randomly associative, or campy. Very few seem to be fully realized and optimal at their present length. So the collection is strained, and even aside from questions of quality, the 'short-short story' does not work as a new kind of fiction. Unless fourth-generation North American surrealism or belated revivals of absurdism are sufficient organizational strategies, and unless aphorisms, epigrams, and prose poems are allowed into the category of 'short-short stores,' then almost none of these work as independent forms.

And then there's the question of quality. Very few are good. Among the best: contributions by Peter Orner, Sam Shepard, Oates, Frederick Adolf Paola, Larissa Amir, Elizabeth Berg, Hon McNally, David Foster Wallace, and Donald Frame. Most of the rest are artificially compressed, arcane, pointlessly or aimlessly whimsical, raw and indigestible, or just trite. ( )
  JimElkins | Sep 5, 2010 |
A nice variety--some stories held my interest longer than others after I came to the end of the last sentence.

I like to keep collections such as this one in the bathroom, where it's easy to read a few pages at a time, and absorb each story a little bit after reading it, as opposed to reading them (or too many) all at once.

My favorites probably won't be your favorites, but maybe I'll come back and mention those later. ( )
  cannedhiss | May 5, 2009 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0393328015, Paperback)

All new, with more great writers than ever—these tales told quickly offer pleasures long past their telling.

Responding to America’s love affair with the short-short, editors Robert Shapard and James Thomas searched thousands of books and magazines to select these sixty stories—each under 2,000 words, each with its own element of surprise, whether traditional, experimental, humorous, moving, or magical. In the process they discovered both new talents and a wealth of celebrated writers, such as Jorge Luis Arzola, Aimee Bender, Teolinda Gers“o, Romulus Linney, Yann Martel, Sam Shepard, and Tobias Wolff.

Zdravka Evitmova conjures blood drops that cure any disease. Ian Frazier writes public relations for crows. Juan José Milás leads an amnesiac husband to an affair in the candlelit darkness of a cathedral with his wife.

Students and lovers of literature take note: this is serious writing that’s fun to read.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:09:14 -0400)

Responding to America's love for short-short stories, editors Robert Shapard and James Thomas searched thousands of books and magazines to select these sixty stories-each under 2,000 words, each with its own element of surprise-whether traditional, experimental, humorous, moving, or magical. In the process they discovered both new talents and a wealth of celebrated writers, among them Lan Samantha Chang, Jorge Luis Arzola, Aimee Bender, Romulus Linney, Yann Martel, Teolinda Gersao, Sam Shepard, and Tobias Wolff. Ha Jin narrates the arrest of two jokers by the Chinese state. Zdravka Evtimova conjures blood drops that can cure any disease. Ian Frazier writes public relations for crows. Juan Jose Millas leads an amnesiac husband to a darkened cathedral for a tryst with his own wife. Chuck Palahniuk tries his luck as a hospice escort. These tales told quickly offer pleasures long past their telling. Book jacket.Includes Other Persons Juan Jose Millas -- A History of Everything, Including You Jenny Hollowell -- The Raft Peter Orner -- The Red Fox Fur Coat Teolinda Gersao -- Loving the Dead Ronald F. Currie Jr. -- Powder Tobias Wolff -- Water Names Lan Samantha Chang -- Berlin Wall Piece Sam Sheppard -- The Rememberer Aimee Bender -- Homage Nadine Gordimer -- Tomorrow's Bird Ian Frazier -- The Palmist Andrew Lam -- Blood Zdravka Evtimova -- Objects in Mirror Are Closer Than They Appear Joyce Carol Gates -- Footnote Romulus Linney -- We Ate the Children Last Yann Martel -- My Lawrence Claudia Smith -- Feeling Good, Feeling Fine George Garrett -- Pompeii Leslie Pietrzyk -- Ma, a Memoir -- Lynn Freed Essential Things Jorge Luis Arzola -- Seven Pieces of Severance Robert Olen Butler -- The Wine Doctor Frederick Adolf Paola -- In Reference to Your Recent Communications Tessa Brown -- Following the Notes Pia Z. Ehrhardt -- The Minimalist Stacey Richter -- I Shot the Sheriff Toure --Before the Train and After Katherine Nolte -- Rosa Blanca Barry Gifford -- The Puppies Dean Paschal -- Before and Again Larissa Amir -- A Bad Joke Ha Jin -- Consumed Steve Amick -- Why Men Quit: An Intellectual Inquiry Benjamin Alire Saenz -- Delicate Touch Stephanie Waxman -- Country Miles Robert King -- Scroll Roy Kesey -- Swimming for Shore Chrissy Kolaya -- Mud Geoffrey Forsyth -- Feelers John Gould -- The Party Elizabeth Berg -- My Kid's Dog Ron Hansen -- Power Lines John McNally -- Incarnations of Burned Children David Foster Wallace -- Inclusions Elizabeth McBride -- Good, Brother Peter Markus -- Reply All Robin Hemley -- Escort Chuck Palahniuk -- The Gold Lunch Ron Carlson -- Doughnut Shops and Doormen Kimberly Kepa'a Tubania -- A Piece of Sky Ronald Frame -- Stolen Chocolates Ursula Hegi -- Juan the Cell Phone Salesman Deb Olin Unferth -- Nap Time Tom Franklin -- Audio Tour Patricia Marx -- Paper Slippers Leelila Strogov -- Crossroad Kirk Nesset -- Determinants Gerald Locklin -- How I Left Ned Sherrie Flick -- Moscow Steve Almond.… (more)

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