Just finished reading my contributor’s copy of You Have Time For This, a collection of flash fiction stories. Every story is less than 500 words long, including the reprint of my 365-word story “Buddha’s Happy Family Jewels”.
The anthology is a nice read. Many of the pieces come from Vestal Review, a literary flash magazine. One of the great things about flash is that you can bookmark it at any time and come back when you feel like it. So if you’re a multi-book reader type, you can pick up flash and not worry about remembering where you were. Or you can read flash while waiting in lines and not get interrupted mid-story.
Since they’re so short, it’s hard to review flash pieces without giving too much away. Fortunately, I can link to some of the stories, and you can read them yourself. Some of my favorites in the book:
Bruce Holland Rogers, of course, is one of the flash fiction masters. I’ve admired his work for a long time. “Three Soldiers” is a fine story about the intersection of war and home life.
Katharine Weber’s “Sleeping” is a terrific example of what flash can do. It’s about a girl’s first experience with babysitting. The last sentence is startling and changes the whole story–yet upon reflection, it’s precisely the right ending.
Patrick Weekes made me laugh out loud with “No Questions Asked”, a story about the unexpected consequences of a stolen wallet.
Lincoln Michel’s “The Mouth” involves a man with a rather strange mouth problem. Another example where the last sentence makes this story work.
L.E. Leone describes how difficult things can get when your house decides it doesn’t want to be owned, in “The House and the Homeowner”.
Deb Olin Unferth’s “Maybe a Superhero” is a whimsical look at a surreal superhero. It appeared in Fence originally.
You have time for this.