Tuesday, October 8, 2013

'Sudden Fiction: American Short-Short Stories' -- a Goodreads review

Sudden Fiction: American Short-Short StoriesSudden Fiction: American Short-Short Stories by Robert Shapard

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


I found gems in this collection, like Stuart Dybek's "Sunday at the Zoo," which takes barely a page to accomplish craziness, desperation, and hilarity.

Raymond Carver's "Popular Mechanics" flares up and chars the imagination in little more than a page and a half.

In the Afterwords sections, I also found several insights into the short-short story from Dybek, Tobias Wolff, Joyce Carol Oates, Paul Theroux, Russell Banks, Mark Strand, and several others.

For example, in one of the Afterwords, Joe David Bellamy writes, "Compression and concision have always been part of the aesthetic of the American short story form. Some writers, perhaps spurred on by information overload of our time, began to experiment with just how far these values could be pushed without losing the minimum weight needed for a memorable dramatic statement."

Fred Chappel writes, "Unease, whether humorous or sad, is the effect the short-short aims at."

Charles Baxter: "It's a test of the reader's ability to fly, using minimal materials."

Baxter again: "It's not that people don't have attention spans. They just don't believe in the future, and they're tired of information."





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