Reading Lists: Editors’ Picks (Flash Fiction Collections)

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Severance by Robert Olen Butler

Now available in an elegant paperback, Robert Olen Butler's acclaimed collection, Severance, depicts the final thoughts of people as they are losing their heads. Celebrated as "glorious" (Los Angeles Times), these fascinating stories reveal "the limitless will of the author's imagination" (New York Times). Here are the imagined ultimate words of famous and invented figures—Medusa, Sir Walter Raleigh, Anne Boleyn, Jayne Mansfield, and a chicken, beheaded for Sunday dinner.

 

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Riffs and Reciprocities

"This Astaire-like glide through our not-so-idle talk is a pleasure." –Publishers Weekly. Stephen Dunn experiments with short, related pieces that play off each other in the manner of jazz improvisations. The resulting pairs cover such subjects as 'Scruples/Saints,' Hypocrisy/Precision, and 'Anger/Generosity' The wisdom and startling turns we've come to expect from Dunn are everywhere in the ninety miniatures (forty-five pairs) that comprise this volume.

 

downloadFlash FIction International (Shapard/Thomas)

These short shorts, usually no more than 750 words, range from linear narratives to the more unusual: stories based on mathematical forms, a paragraph-length novel, a scientific report on volcanic fireflies that proliferate in nightclubs. A new entry in the lauded Flash and Sudden Fiction anthologies, this collection includes 83 of the most beautiful, provocative, and moving narratives by authors from six continents, including best-selling writer Etgar Keret, Zimbabwean writer Petina Gappah, Korean screenwriter Kim Young-ha, Nobel Prize winner Czeslaw Milosz, and Argentinian “Queen of the Microstory” Ana María Shua, among many others. 

booksNames Above Houses by Oliver de la Paz

In Names above Houses, Oliver de la Paz uses both prose and verse poems to create the magical realm of Fidelito Recto—a boy who wants to fly—and his family of Filipino immigrants. Fidelito’s mother, Maria Elena, tries to keep her son grounded while struggling with her own moorings. Meanwhile, Domingo, Fidelito's fisherman father, is always at sea, even when among them. From the archipelago of the Philippines to San Francisco, horizontal and vertical movements shape moments of displacement and belonging for this marginalized family.  [sws_divider_line]

 

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Wouldn't You Like to Know by Pamela Painter

"Wouldn't You Like to Know has a story to suit almost every reader's taste, making the collection perfect entertainment for multi-tasking, 21st century adults with Attention Deficit Disorder, except for one thing: Painter's prose is so carefully wrought, her language so poetic and packed with psychological insight, that the reader tends to stop and savor each short piece rather than breeze through all 103 pages (34 stories) in one sitting. —Alison Morse, The Potomac

 

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New Sudden Fiction (Shapard/Thomas)

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 Gersao, Romulus Linney, Yann Martel, Sam Shepard, and Tobias Wolff.

 

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Flashes of War by Katey Schultz

Illuminating the intimate, human faces of war, this unique series of short stories by award-winning author Katey Schultz questions the stereotypes of modern war by bearing witness to the shared struggles of all who are touched by it. Numerous characters-returning U.S. soldier and pragmatic jihadist, Afghan mother and listless American sister, courageous amputee and a ghost that cannot let go-appear in Flashes of War, which captures personal moments of fear, introspection, confusion, and valor in one collection spanning nations and perspectives. Written in clear, accessible language with startling metaphors, this unforgettable journey leaves aside judgment, bringing us closer to a broader understanding of war by focusing on individuals, their motivations, and their impossible decisions. 

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In Our Time by Ernest Hemingway

In Our Time earned Hemingway a place beside Sherwood Anderson and Gertrude Stein among the most promising American writers of that period. In Our Time introduces readers to the hallmarks of the Hemingway style: a lean, tough prose. Now recognized as one of the most original short story collections in twentieth-century literature, In Our Time provides a key to Hemingway's later works.

 

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Flash Fiction Forward (Shapard/Thomas)

In this follow-up collection, the editors once again tackle the question: “How short can a story be and truly be a story?” Determined to find the best flashes from America in the twenty-first century, James Thomas and Robert Shapard searched everywhere for stories that were not merely good but memorable. Moving, and certainly unforgettable, this collection includes stories from the best and most popular fiction writers of our time, including Ron Carlson, Robert Coover, Steve Almond, Amy Hempel, A. M. Homes, and more.

 

 

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