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Publishers WeeklyIn this 17-story collection, writer and editor Masih (The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Writing Flash Fiction) examines characters balanced precariously on the edge of contentment and disillusionment. Delicate, sparse prose contributes to the heavy-heartedness of such stories as "Say Bridgitte, Please," in which sadness overtakes ecstasy during a teenage girl's sexual encounter with a stranger; and "Asylum," as a daughter agonizes over her mother's encroaching madness, and what it means for her own fate. Masih's first-person narratives are the most riveting, whether assuming the voice of a young girl witnessing her parents' marriage crumble from the backseat of a 1963 Thunderbird ("Sunday Drives"), or an aging father grieving the death of his friend's adult daughter in the light of a late-winter bonfire ("The Burnings"). Compiled from two decades of work, Masih's stories are minimally but skillfully detailed-no last names, vague settings-giving extra weight to simple, recurring phenomena like water and color ("the evening's August melon light"). Striking and resonant, this collection should prove memorable for any fan of New Yorker-style literary short fiction.
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