Flash Fiction Forward: 80 Very Short Stories

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Overview

The eagerly anticipated anthology from the editors who coined the term “flash,” with stories by today’s best fiction writers.
After publication of the first Flash Fiction anthology over a decade ago, “flash” became part of the creative writing lexicon for readers, writers, students, and teachers. 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 ...

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Overview

The eagerly anticipated anthology from the editors who coined the term “flash,” with stories by today’s best fiction writers.
After publication of the first Flash Fiction anthology over a decade ago, “flash” became part of the creative writing lexicon for readers, writers, students, and teachers. 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, Grace Paley, and Paul Theroux. In addition, Rick Moody properly defines armoire, Lydia Davis delves into a world of cats, and Dave Eggers explores narrow escapes. Over and over, these stories prove that often less is more.

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Editorial Reviews

KLIATT - Anthony Pucci
The first Flash Fiction appeared more than ten years ago; now editors Thomas and Shapard present 80 new pieces. One might ask, "Exactly what is flash fiction?" According to the Editors' Note, they are "very short stories" that depend "not on their length but on their depth, clarity of vision, and human significance." They set a third of a page as a minimum length and 750 words as a maximum for consideration. A few of the authors of these flashes are widely known, such as John Updike and Paul Theroux. Most of the others are not. The 80 works are presented in no particular order, like a camera set to take random shots on a busy city street. The reader has no idea what to expect from one shot to the next. One flash begins with the fanciful, "An orange ruled the world." Another begins with the somber, "Do not go outside." "How to Set a House on Fire" explains how to do just that. "Crazy Glue" tells of a wife who reclaims her cheating husband by gluing every piece of furniture in their home in place, and gluing herself to the ceiling. There are some gems here. For example, "Fab 4" recalls the first appearance of the Beatles on American television. "That Could Have Been You" suggests the optimism of youth. "The Good Life" recalls the narrator's chance encounter with a woman who mistakes him for someone else. All of these epitomize what a flash is at its best. They are moving, provocative, and memorable. Unfortunately, the quality of these pieces is uneven. The good news is that if you read one that you do not enjoy, it only takes a flash to try again.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393328028
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 8/17/2006
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 260,331
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert Shapard directed the University of Hawaii MFA program and now lives in Austin, Texas.

James Thomas has received two NEA grants and a Stegner
Fellowship; he lives in Xenia, Ohio.

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