cover image Sudden Fiction (Continued): 60 New Short-Short Stories

Sudden Fiction (Continued): 60 New Short-Short Stories

. W. W. Norton & Company, $25 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-393-03830-9

These short-short stories (approximately 2000 words apiece) compiled by the editors of Sudden Fiction and Sudden Fiction International are fiction in a whirlwind. The authors maintain a fast pace and full, vivid characters and descriptions while keeping the stories masterfully short. It would be difficult to choose the best; all are outstanding in one way or another. There are some translations from Czech, French and Spanish that have the feel of oft-told folktales, and the more bizarre selections are interspersed with poignantly ordinary stories. Thomas McGuane's ""War and Peace"" is the tale of a friendship that cannot withstand change. A professor and student discuss Roman history from different points of view in ""The Liberation of Rome"" by Robin Hemley. In ""Sundress"" by Terese Svoboda, two vagrants set up housekeeping in a vacationing family's house, befriending the entire neighborhood, which much prefers them to the real owners. With contributions by Margaret Atwood, Alice Walker, William Maxwell and many others (those whose names aren't as recognizable certainly deserve notice), the collection is rich and varied--perfect for reading in the hammock. (July)