New Sudden Fiction: Short-Short Stories from America and Beyond

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Overview

An all-new volume?students and lovers of literature take note: this is serious writing that's fun to read.
Responding to America?s love affair with the short-short, editors Robert Shapard and James Thomas searched thousands of books and magazines to select these sixty stories?each under 2,000 words, each with its own element of surprise, whether traditional, experimental, humorous, moving, or magical. In the process they discovered both new talents and a wealth of celebrated ...
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Overview

An all-new volume—students and lovers of literature take note: this is serious writing that's fun to read.
Responding to America’s love affair with the short-short, editors Robert Shapard and James Thomas searched thousands of books and magazines to select these sixty stories—each under 2,000 words, each with its own element of surprise, whether traditional, experimental, humorous, moving, or magical. In the process they discovered both new talents and a wealth of celebrated writers, such as Jorge Luis Arzola, Aimee Bender, Teolinda Gersao, Romulus Linney, Yann Martel, Sam Shepard, and Tobias Wolff. Zdravka Evitmova conjures blood drops that cure any disease. Ian Frazier writes public relations for crows. Juan José Milás leads an amnesiac husband to an affair in the candlelit darkness of a cathedral with his wife. These tales told quickly offer pleasures long past their telling.
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Editorial Reviews

Charles Baxter
“It’s a test of the reader’s ability to fly.”
Mark Strand
“It can do in a page what a novel does in two hundred.”
KLIATT - Sharon Daniel
These fast-paced, very short stories each run three pages or less. A few of the stories are translated from Spanish and Portuguese. In "Footnote," a French love story, Madame du Chatelet is apparently enjoying her friendship with Voltaire and Lieutenant Saint-Lambert while her husband is away on military duty. Readers will want to know what happens and why he is called home by his wife, who is now expecting a baby. "The Palmist" from South China tells of a man losing his son, mother and two sisters on their escape to America. On his bus ride home he tries to read an American teenager's palm; the teen finally gives in when pressured by the other riders. Readers will be amazed by the results of his reading. Each story brings with it a rich foreign culture; they are unusual. A few selections succeed in stirring up tension and suspense. A good choice for high school and public libraries.
Kirkus Reviews
Lively collection of 60 bite-sized fiction pieces. In their exuberant introduction, the editors introduce readers to the genre of sudden fiction. As distinct from the super-short burst of narrative known as flash fiction as it is from the sort of ruminative short story one might find in a prestigious magazine, sudden fiction averages "a whopping 1,500 words," combining the intense emotional charge of the former with the narrative arc of the latter. The anthology gathers stories from magazines and websites and includes work by well-known writers like Joyce Carol Oates, Elizabeth Berg and David Foster Wallace, as well as up-and-coming writers; it is primarily composed of American writers, but it is peppered with contributors from other countries. Best of all, there's not a dud in the bunch. Because they are so compressed, none of the stories is particularly plot driven, but in different ways, each is a fine example of the craft of story writing. Most of them are in the first-person, showcasing a rich narrator with an idiosyncratic voice. Among the standouts are Jenny Hollowell's beautiful "A History of Everything, Including You," which unfolds the secret emotional life of an entire marriage in a matter of paragraphs, and Tessa Brown's "In Reference to Your Recent Communications," a masterly adaptation of the memo form to describe a failed relationship. The more conventionally structured stories effectively isolate a moment in time. Yann Martel's grimly funny "We Ate the Children Last" is exemplary, as is Katherin Nolte's painfully sharp "Before the Train and After."Successful and satisfying.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393328011
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 1/22/2007
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 368
  • Sales rank: 472,908
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 0.90 (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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Table of Contents


Editors' Note     13
Other Persons     21
A History of Everything, Including You     25
The Raft     29
The Red Fox Fur Coat     34
Loving the Dead     40
Powder     47
Water Names     52
Berlin Wall Piece     57
The Rememberer     63
Homage     68
Tomorrow's Bird     73
The Palmist     78
Blood     85
Objects in Mirror Are Closer Than They Appear     90
Footnote     95
We Ate the Children Last     101
My Lawrence     105
Feeling Good, Feeling Fine     111
Pompeii     117
Ma, a Memoir 122
Essential Things     127
Seven Pieces of Severance     131
The Wine Doctor     137
In Reference to Your Recent Communications     142
Following the Notes     150
The Minimalist     153
I Shot the Sheriff     159
Before the Train and After     164
Rosa Blanca     171
The Puppies     177
Before and Again     182
A Bad Joke     189
Consumed     196
Why Men Quit: An Intellectual Inquiry     201
Delicate Touch     206
Country Miles     212
Scroll     216
Swimming for Shore     222
Mud     229
Feelers     234
The Party     238
My Kid's Dog     244
Power Lines     251
Incarnations of Burned Children     255
Inclusions     259
Good, Brother     264
Reply All     268
Escort     277
The Gold Lunch     281
doughnut Shops and Doormen     288
A Piece of Sky     293
Stolen Chocolates     299
Juan the Cell Phone Salesman     305
Nap Time     310
Audio Tour     316
Paper Slippers     320
Crossroad     326
Determinants     332
How I Left Ned     336
Moscow     341
About the Authors     345
Credits     363
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