7 Reads We Recommend

7 reads1. “Find” by Ron Riekki in Juked

I love the distance Ron Riekki’s flash travels in less than, I’m guessing, 400 words. The voice is sardonic, immediately engaging, and swiftly carries us into grim corners that glitter with strange and sublime detail that flips this war narrative on its severed ear. ~ Sheryl Monks, Editor

2. “Old Man Falling Off of Stool” by Timur Jonathan Karaca in Smoke Long Quarterly, Issue 48

Somewhere in the magazine, perhaps in the archives now, I remember reading that it got its name because the stories within could be read in the time it takes to smoke one cigarette. I smoked three reading Timur Jonathan Karaca’s “Old Man Falling Off of Stool,” but then I’ve read it three times now. It’s such a beautiful example of what flash fiction can do, showing off its arc in splendid fashion, measuring the reader’s breathing expertly so as to slip away quietly with the story’s end. It’s an intentionally quick read, rising up, for me, just as the blood begins to pool along the old man’s skull, catching my throat as I realize I’m privy to the beginning of the end of someone’s life. No fanfare, no drama, a closer seat to what’s really going on than the other diners half standing. That’s the blessing. That’s the beauty of flash fiction done right, seizing the right point in time to tell a whole story, treated with dignity and a good eye for what’s really important, how to create an experience for the reader, a clear sense that we were there in this moment to bear witness. ~ Antonios Maltezos, Editor

3. “Leather Interiors That Used to Moo” by Ryan Quinn Flanagan at Your One Phone Call

Ryan Quinn Flanagan uses incredible imagery, the kind that makes your stomach twist it’s so visceral. His description of this photo shoot with dead animals and a beautiful woman captures the mind of the reader, quickly forcing one to consider the connections between violence and sexuality. This poem stuck with me, as it made me think and did not let me stop thinking. ~ Emily Ramser, Editorial Assistant

4. “The Tines” by Noah Warren at Boaat Press

Noah’s poem has such delicate strength– the stunning visual here is clear, and the tension in his precise language takes my breath away. This father/son scene captures the theme of this issue so well: Hunger. ~ Laurel Dowswell, Features Editor

5. “Momentum” by Pamela J. Wolfson in Vestal Review, Issue 47

One valuable tool of the trade for the flash fiction writer is language. When so pressed for word count, it’s the poetry of the carefully chosen word that gives life to the minutest detail, thus expanding the known universe to include so much we may have otherwise missed. But even here, there need be a raison d’etre for paragraphs that read like pure poetry. In “Momentum,” Pamela J. Wolfson does a remarkable job of bringing us not only down to street level, modern day Nanjing, China, but deeper still, the American couple’s guide the point person into the heart of life there; what we’re exposed to, a seeming distraction from how a regular tour should unfold. But Wolfson’s gorgeous descriptions have a purpose, the tour guide’s impression that the adopted child with the Americans will be more fortunate than she because the child will experience more of the world. A calculated risk by Wolfson, ending on that impression, but also a  wonderful faith in her readers to see what she sees, to share in the love of language and its ability to find beauty if only we look. ~ Antonios Maltezos, Editor

6. “Short Answers” by Ursula Villarreal-Moura at Dogzplot Press

The ability to capture a story in less than 200 words is something I admired greatly. The ability to capture emotion in less than 200 words is something I admire even more, and for that reason, Ursula Villarreal-Moura has been placed on my writers to watch list. Her story, which revolves around a character’s therapy appointment, is succinct but packed full, almost reminiscent of a punch to the gut. ~ Emily Ramser, Editorial Assistant

7. “Closed for Now” by Maria Terrone at Literal Latté

“Closed for Now” begins with everyday tasks and ends in uncertainty for both the narrator and the reader. Parallels are drawn between mental, emotional, and physical closings. Anyone who describes ‘skin like parchment ready to be inked’ has captured my attention as a reader and as a writer. I slipped into familiarity at the first line and didn’t leave until the end. ~ Chelsei Crotteau, Social Media Assistant

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