Below are reviews of some recently released short story collections from indie authors. All come highly recommended and would make great additions to your summer reading list.
Edited by one of my favorite indie writers, Ivy Ngeow, this is a solid, diverse collection traipsing across the vast Asian landscape and traversing many different genres.
Some of the stories felt more like sketches or first drafts, but there were some real gems as well.
My favorites were:
– A Sparkle of Fireflies by Doc Krinberg, which I found sophisticated and melancholy.
– The Dog Walker by Ivy Ngeow, which was observant and suspensful, like all of her great works.
– Full Moon over Tawi-Tawi by Nenad Jovancic, which captured with fear, wonder and humor the wanderlust and mystery that often draws Westerners to South East Asia.
Sometimes We Fall is another strong collection of stories from Yong Takahashi. It contains a mixture of flash fiction, short stories of traditional length, and a centerpiece mini-collection of intertwining vignettes detailing various characters who live near the neighborhood school bus
There’s a recurring theme of women who are underestimated triumphing over their belittlers that I found powerful and well done. This overarching viewpoint successfully allowed me to gloss over the few stories that missed or didn’t seem to fit in.
Stand outs for me included:
– Heads Up – the second story of Takahashi’s I’ve read about the lives of gamblers (a previous story about the down-and-out was the highlight of her Escape to Candyland collection)
– Renovation of a House – possibly my favorite story of this collection
– Living out Loud – a wonderful example of flash fiction (Chandelier also follows the same rhythms and theme)
Overall, I highly recommend this collection for its no-nonsense style and handling of universal themes in specific yet nuanced ways.
A whole collection of short-shorts and flash fiction about death…sounds fun, right?
The darkly humorous tone combined with poignant glimpses of humanity highlight the best pieces of this collection from Lannie Stabile.
As with all flash, some doesn’t quite work or is just too…quick (I know, I know, they’re supposed to be…flashes…)
But when flash fiction works, man, does it knock you over. And there are some pieces in here that really work.
My favorites were:
– To Wash and Dry a Vessel
– Like Butter (brutal and haunting)
– Muriel vs. the Hunger (cleverly told from the POV of a harried hamster who just gave birth to 24 pups)
– Muck or Nettles
– Mark Forgot the Baby Formula
– Toes in the Sand
Overall, at 75 pages, this is a quick, but deeply probing read into grief punctuated by healthy doses of gallows humor and plenty of dark twists. I definitely recommend this if that sounds like your type of thing.