cover image All the Comfort Sin Can Provide

All the Comfort Sin Can Provide

Grant Faulkner. Black Lawrence, $21.95 trade paper (144p) ISBN 978-1-62557-022-2

Faulkner (Fissures) returns with a collection of vivid snapshots anchored with telling detail. A woman settling into a rented room in Umbria, a strange love letter, and a childhood memory of a laundromat are three of the subjects of the many single-paragraph works of flash fiction. Only five of the 28 stories collected from decades of published work are longer than a few pages, each starting with a paragraph too provocative to be left unexplored. “Sleeping and Not Sleeping and Waking” begins as a short play between troubled Peter and his psychiatrist and develops in disturbing directions. With the exception of these longer pieces, Faulkner is primarily observational, and plot seems not so important. In “Invocation to Possible Angels,” a drunken man in a bathrobe in a recliner reflects on his failing health. “Mademoiselle in the Coffee Shop” offers surprising details about a unique-looking woman. “Notes from One Still Living” follows the creative process of a poet on a “sticky” day in New York. Throughout, Faulkner showcases an ability to pinpoint specificity of character, location, and time, whatever a story’s length. (July)