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New Sudden Fiction: Short-Short Stories from America and Beyond Paperback – January 17, 2007
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“It’s a test of the reader’s ability to fly.”
- Charles Baxter
“It can do in a page what a novel does in two hundred.”
- Mark Strand
About the Author
Robert Shapard directed the University of Hawaii MFA program and now lives in Austin, Texas.
James Thomas has received a Stegner Fellowship, a Michener Fellowship, and two NEA grants. He lives in Xenia, Ohio.
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What is slightly disappointing about this collection is that the quality (for this reviewer) is a bit uneven. While all the stories are of rather similar lengths (3 to 5 pages for the most part), some simply go nowhere, reflecting on a moment or character in detail and arriving at very little in the way of stimulating conclusions. Others, such as Tobias Wolfe's or Sam Shepard's (two of the best in the bunch), nicely portray real conflicts, draw very real characters, and maintain forceful narratives throughout, with endings that satisfy.
If you enjoy short fiction, this is certainly worth reading, then perhaps selling back if you find only a little that you like (I'll probably keep my copy, as I think I like the parts I like enough to want to read them again later on). If you're trying to get into what's going on in contemporary short(-short) fiction, there is no better place to start. Author bios in the back will give you other book titles and such as launching points for further reading as well.