Wednesday, January 19, 2011
Flashes from the Other World by Julie Ann Weinstein
So, there's evidently a genre of fiction with which I was previously unacquainted, flash fiction. Wikipedia says, "Flash fiction is a style of fictional literature or fiction of extreme brevity. There is no widely accepted definition of the length of the category. Some self-described markets for flash fiction impose caps as low as three-hundred, while others consider stories as long as one-thousand words to be flash fiction." Now, this seems to me very much like the kind of thing I used to do when I'd immediately jot down the contents of a dream, or have a little scene go through my head, years ago, and have to write a quick blurb just to get it out of my brain, but evidently there's an entire body of this type of literature out there. Who knew?
Ms. Weinstein's book is a collection of her flash fiction, and was kind enough to send me a copy of it for review. I'd requested it not really paying attention to the genre, which really isn't my cup of tea. I did, however, find some of the ideas in the book entertaining, such as one story about a woman without children who adopts a doll, and takes it on all sorts of outings, snapping photos which she then sends off to her family. They all think she's crazy.
I could see, though, that perhaps those of us who have children or pets that we bombard our acquaintances and family with photos of, Xmas brag letters about, and so forth might evoke this sort of response or retaliation from the less fortunate. Made me think, anyhow.
One story that struck me as quite topical was the account of a woman who was labeled a criminal for excessive consumption of carbohydrates. The Food Police are watching you. The final lines from that one just cracked me up. "I break open the French bread and bite into it, ignoring the gun shots. One bullet hits the ceiling light. It breaks. Glass shatters. I continue chewing the bread and break open a bag of Cheetos. It rips in half. I throw it high in the air, the same with the next bag, and the next. It's raining Cheetos when they take me away."
Another bit that I rather liked was, "Mom called it gross and Dad didn't say anything, anything at all. Not even when the pile of gum wads in the corner of my room attracted life forms and Mom insisted I throw it out." If you've ever cleaned a teenager's room, you can relate to this.
As I said, not my ordinary fare, but if you like the odd bit of flash fiction, you may find it tasty.