cover image Flash Fiction: Very Short Stories

Flash Fiction: Very Short Stories

. W. W. Norton & Company, $19.95 (224pp) ISBN 978-0-393-03361-8

In this collection of 72 previously published stories--none longer than 750 words--Raymond Carver, Luisa Valenzuela, Margaret Atwood and John Updike mingle with talented lesser knowns to form a marvelously varied bouquet. Bruce Holland Rogers describes a man who pours his unrequited love into a poem comparing his beloved's thunderously exhilarating effect on him to ``the Burlington Northern southbound out of Fort Collins.'' In Julia Alvarez's tale, set during the Cuban missile crisis, a young immigrant girl panics when she spots deadly fallout--until she learns it is snow, each flake unique, like a person. A man looking at an old photo of his parents sees not the second of promise captured on paper but the tragic consequences 20 years in the future, in Paul Lisicky's work. And Allan Gurganus's narrator shows that ``despite persistent rumors to the contrary, my grandfather did not die driving a Toyota across his pond'' in an attempt to prove the excellence of this car, for which he had conceived a bizarre passion. Savor this collection one minute at a time. James Thomas and Denise Thomas edit The Best of the West series; Hazuka is fiction editor of Quarterly West . (July)