Reviewed by Stasia Olashaya-Grill
Best Small Fictions 2015 edited by Robert Olen Butler
Series Editor Tara L. Masih
Paperback: 160 Pages
Publisher: Queen’s Ferry Press (2015)
Available for $12.38 on Amazon; $14.95 through QFP
In a world of instant gratification and instant communication, where do our emotions go? How do we express ourselves? Restricted by character limits, prompted to clickbait titles and buzzwords, art still finds a way to, quite simply, exist.
Queen’s Ferry Press brought to light some of the most incredible flash fiction of 2015. Lengths are not fixed at Twitter’s 140 character maximum, but all of them fall into the “short-short”/small fiction category—and each reveals something poignant about the current pulse of digital worldwide culture and the overall human condition.
There is love. There is loss. There are barely hidden secrets touched on then gone like drifting sand.
Following the publisher’s advice to read slowly, read only a few entries at a time, is sound. There are categories laid out in the anthology; however, they feel almost like a guideline. A wonderful ebb and flow exists between pieces that connects them by the synergy of simply being micro-fiction.
Arguably, some of the most effective pieces fall somewhere between Twitter-length fiction and ones that are roughly three paragraphs long. Pacing is paramount. Like the sticking power of certain famous short stories—such as “To Kill an Elephant” by George Orwell—small fiction hits with driving force. These pieces truly are deserving of their places inside the Best Small Fictions 2015.
Do take the publisher’s advice. Read a few entries at a time. Savor them. Let them wash over you and change you. Enjoy the gravity of every carefully-chosen word.
It’ll take just a moment.
Founded in Plano, Texas, in 2011 as a small independent publisher, Queen’s Ferry Press specializes in literary fiction. Inspired by a Scottish coastal estuary through which crossings have occurred for over a thousand years, the press seeks to publish works that convey via structuring and interpretation. At Queen’s Ferry Press, physical crafting and emotional connection are celebrated. Visit them at queensferrypress.com.