Thursday, 14 February 2008

Eye Hospitals, "Sudden Fiction"

This morning, I was afraid I was losing the sight in one eye.
I am not. But for those hours it was a possibility. I was planning what I would do. Panic set in.

I took a book to read at the Eye Hospital. In case...


SUDDEN FICTION INTERNATIONAL, Ed James Thomas and Robert Shapard. Intro by Charles Baxter.

Brilliant, wonderful short short fiction carefully collected together over 20 years ago from writers from around the world. Few pieces more than five or six sides.

Who says flash fiction is new ?!! This was published in 1989.

In the intro, Charles Baxter talks about the 'space' of fiction... not its brevity.

Listen to this:

"Quite a few critics have been worried about attention spans and see very short stories as signs of cultural decadence, bonbons for lazy readers...but many of the wonderful stories gathered in this volume compel quite a lot of attention and the duration of that attention doesn't seem as important as its quality..."

He goes on to call one of the stories here 'one of the most beautiful stories in this collection and one of the best stories written by anyone anywhere'.

The Grasshopper and the Bell Cricket by Yasunari Kawabata.

If you read none of the others (and they kept me sane this morning...they are wonderful, sparkling, aching and hold such depth...) buy it for that single story.

I weep that I can't write something like that.

1 comment:

TitaniaWrites said...

V - very glad to hear that your sight is not in danger, but it does sounds like an irritant. But well done for flipping this into praise of Sudden Fiction International, which I have - I have all the Sudden Fiction books, I think (New Sudden Fiction, Flash Fiction Forward...). This will be my weekend reading!