Friday, February 11, 2005

Flash Fiction: 72 Very Short Stories by James Thomas et al

A Book Review by Zinta Aistars

# Publisher: W.W. Norton & Company, 1992
# 224 pages
# $11.95
# ISBN 0393308839

Blink and you've missed it. Don't blink.

Here is what you will see while your eye remains open, in a quick instant of bright color and imagined sound, or sweet fragrance, just sensed before it is gone, or sudden stink, or a momentary sensation across your skin, like the tickle of a feather, or the flavor of something, something, you can't quite place what, on your tongue that reminds of you someplace, someplace, you've been a very long time ago:

"The Burlington Northern, Southbound" by Bruce Holland Rogers...who writes a poem to Christine about the exhiliration of catching a moving train, wind, banged up knee, rhythm, blood rush, and compares it to how he feels about her, and waits for her answer...

"Subtotals" by Gregory Burnham... list of totals that comprise a life, nothing but a list, nothing but totals...number of refrigerators I've lived with, 18... number of gray hairs, 4... number of times wished I was dead, 2... number of light bulbs changed, 273... number of times born again, 0... number of times I forgot what I was going to say, 631...

"Space" by Mark Strand... a beautiful woman stands at the roof-edge of a highrise building, teetering, readying... and a man on the roof of the next building calls out to her... he calls out hope, a dinner proposal, a promise of better days, a marriage proposal... to this woman he does not know, the wind blowing strands of her dark hair across her lovely face... as he contemplates that space, that space between, him, her, the pavement, life, death...

Don't blink. There are 72 of these instant technicolor visions before you can blink again.


Chef E said...

Just finished it the second time since I ordered it a few months ago...LOVED IT!

You are right on...aren't you always!

Zinta Aistars said...

Little pieces of greatness, agreed! One of my all time favorites, especially for reading on the road (as passenger, of course).