cover image Microfictions


Ana Maria Shua, Author, Steven J. Stewart, Translator , trans. from the Spanish by Steven J. Stewart. Univ. of Nebraska $50 (196p) ISBN 978-0-8032-2090-4

Argentinean poet Shua is a master of the bon mot. Each of these concise, lyrical pieces—somewhere between aphorism, anecdote and poem, and rarely longer than a paragraph—contains a fluid, perplexing, and (often) highly amusing thought. Shua creates a fantastically interconnected web with such strands as “Dreams,” “Magic,” “Literature” and “Men and Women,” wherein everyday objects take on a frightening life of their own: “I vigilantly open my bedroom door trying to catch my dolls talking to each other,” begins “Dolls,” while the narrator of “Objects” declares, “The nightstand brings me breakfast in bed.” Relations between men and women assume a primal urgency, such as in “Flattery”: “This isn’t the work of a human being,” says a man staring at the bloody marks left in his flesh. “Come on, what a flatterer,” replies the sharp-clawed narrator. Shua gives some of the well-known myths of literature her own gleeful spin, as in “Wolf,” which finds Little Red Riding Hood wondering, “What does my grandmother have that I don’t?” These dreamlike landscapes will delight and charm readers new to Shua’s work. (Apr.)