cover image Lunar Savings Time

Lunar Savings Time

Alex Epstein, trans. from the Hebrew by Becka Mara McKay. Interlink/Clockroot, $15 trade paper (128p) ISBN 978-1-56656-852-4

Helen of Troy, a moon launch, Russian literature; these are but a few of the diverse subjects in Epstein's new collection of 99 flash fictions. The stories riff on arch concepts in witty prose, often juxtaposing different realms of knowledge%E2%80%94science and the Bible and contemporary war and serious lit and even autobiography. Few stories run longer than a page, and most are less than a hundred words long. Epstein tackles the subject of writing fiction itself in stories such as "Metafiction," which consists of only one line: "The ghost was still breastfeeding." Other recurring topics include mythology, rain, and outer space. Indeed, the overlap of these topics indicates a larger pattern at work, and the repetition of themes and "characters," such as Aeneas or The Third Reich, rewards reading. "Three Moons" begins with NASA and the space race and travels through Google, Dante, and World War II to a personal, family memory that beautifully evokes the orbit of the moon. Similarly, "Three Pieces of Time" has three short numbered parts that mash together homelessness, sci-fi, religion, Borges, and The Trojan War. A consistently provocative collection, best read first in gulps and then in savory sips. (July)