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New Sudden Fiction: Short-Short Stories from America and Beyond
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New Sudden Fiction: Short-Short Stories from America and Beyond

3.85  ·  Rating Details ·  429 Ratings  ·  44 Reviews
Responding to America’s love affair with the short-short, editors Robert Shapard and James Thomas searched thousands of books and magazines to select these sixty stories—each under 2,000 words, each with its own element of surprise, whether traditional, experimental, humorous, moving, or magical. In the process they discovered both new talents and a wealth of celebrated wr ...more
Paperback, 368 pages
Published January 17th 2007 by W. W. Norton & Company
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Jul 07, 2008 Richard rated it liked it
The original Sudden Fiction anthology was something of a literary groundbreaker as well as the start of a franchise--Robert Shapard and James Thomas could be credited with giving sudden (aka flash, aka micro, aka short short) fiction a formal stage so that the genre could (and did) become acceptable in all kinds of venues where it had not been considered legitimate before. Obviously, Raymond Carver's seminal collection What We Talk About When We Talk About Love (the one edited by Gordon Lish, wh ...more
Sep 20, 2009 Philip rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya-short-stories
Sudden Fiction = Short-Short Stories. With authors like David Foster Wallace, Chuck Palahniuk, Joyce Carol Oates, Elizabeth Berg, and Yann Martel how can you go wrong? Well, you really can't.* Most all of these stories were pretty fantastic. I keep going back to several, most notably Robin Hemley's "Reply All," which is told in the email format... I know I've hit "reply all" with disastrous results before... This collection is pretty much all gold. And if you come across a story you don't like, ...more
Feb 07, 2016 Dylan rated it liked it
"Don't smile. Just because I'm smiling, don't assume I couldn't kill you right now."

This was a book of a ton of short short stories. It is amazing that a complete story can be told in such a small number of words. We really do need less than we think to get our point across.

My favorite stories from the collection are:
A History of Everything, Including You
Loving the Dead
Tomorrow's Bird
In Reference to Your Recent Communications
Why Men Quit: An Intellectual Inquiry
Swimming for
Jim Elkins
Oct 09, 2012 Jim Elkins rated it did not like it
A book of 'short-short stories,' which the editor defines as stories under 2,000 words. The central question here is whether or not this is a genre. Some of the stories seem artificially compressed, as if their authors had to telegraph their thoughts to fit the word limit. Others, among the most successful, read like excerpts from longer stories or fragments of novels. (Joyce Carol Oates's is an example.) Quite a few use surrealist juxtaposition as a principal reductive strategy. Others are atte ...more
Mar 30, 2010 Erikaaaa rated it did not like it
If you pick up this collection of very-very short-shorts and you read the first story while you're still in the store, you might buy it. Well, that's because it's the best story in the book. I fell right into that trap.

This volume boasts some big names--Chuck Palahniuk, David Foster Wallace, Joyce Carol Oates, Tobias Wolff, Aimee Bender--and their stories were okay--well, actually theirs were all pretty good but I'd read some of them before--but for the most part i was just... Where are they get
Oct 31, 2008 Denis rated it it was amazing
I'm changing my rating to 5 stars, from 4. My interest in the Sudden Fiction series is mostly to learn how to write short-shorts and I look to the Sudden Fiction series for inspiration, and to see how it's done. And they're also great bedside reading as you can read many full morsels before drifting off.

I wasn't excited with the original, Sudden Fiction, American Short-Short Stories, published in 1986. But I went back through this collection to tag those that evoked something in me, those worth
May 25, 2008 Alissa rated it it was ok
This survey of stories three pages or less links a range of writing from humorous to magical, from experimental to traditional, notable authors being Tobias Wolff, Joyce Carol Oates, Robert Olen Butler, Ha Jin, David Foster Wallace and Sam Shepard. Some of these stories succeeded in capturing the essence of a moment to reveal a larger significance, while others just felt like an outline or sketch of something that could be larger and more meaningful.
Mar 27, 2009 Laurie rated it liked it
I read this and Children Standing Before a Statue of Hercules at the same time. I'd rate this one at a slightly lower awesomeness-per-page average, but still had many great stories that introduced me to new authors.

Also, the short-short is the perfect length for the typical window I have for pleasure reading each day, in the morning between breakfast and shower, if you know what I'm talking about.
May 03, 2009 Shane rated it it was amazing
The stories in this book are amazing. They're short, precise, funny, serious, curious, and above all fun. They are direct, starting you off in the action so there's no need for some long intro, and then after you read one story you think, "There's no way this next story will be as good as the last one," but guess what? It is!
Lisa Hern
Jan 09, 2013 Lisa Hern rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorite-books
To tell a good story in so few pages is a true gift. I thoroughly enjoyed most of the stories in this volume. Sudden fiction is a true blue genre, put your seatbelt on.
4.25 Stars.
Oct 20, 2009 Lotte rated it liked it
Not a bad collection but the stories are a bit long to qualify as sudden fiction. As usual, there is a mix of more powerful stories with less memorable ones.
Juliet Romo
Jul 14, 2011 Juliet Romo is currently reading it
still reading
Katharine Grubb
May 27, 2011 Katharine Grubb rated it really liked it
Shelves: shortstories
Some real funny stuff in this one- and some equally as disturbing...
Feb 06, 2011 Liosliath rated it it was amazing
Probably one of the best collections of short stories I've ever read.
Jan 07, 2017 Cate rated it it was amazing
I have this dining companion who delights in feeding me "the perfect bite".

These stories are perfect bites.

Exciting writing.

Inspiring models for an aspiring author.

Santino Prinzi
Oct 18, 2016 Santino Prinzi rated it really liked it
There are many excellent gems in this collection of sudden fiction - stories that are longer than flash but shorter than most short stories.
Jul 25, 2016 Chris rated it it was amazing
I've enjoyed flash fiction for a long while now, but it has been more than awhile since I've visited the form.

This was an excellent collection to dive back in with, as most every story hit me in some way.

The preface discusses how this length and form just seems to "work," as many shorter stories can feel too incomplete or ambiguous, and longer works can start to get bogged down. However, this length of story packs a hell of a punch, and many of these stories are perfect examples of that punch.

Jenna Thornburg
Apr 26, 2016 Jenna Thornburg rated it really liked it
This collection of short stories is really fun to read. Every story within can be finished in between 5 and 15 minutes, making it easy to binge-read many of them in a sitting.

I gave it four stars instead of five only because there are quite a few stories I feel "meh" about. They're OK, but I wonder how they made it into this collection, aside from just fitting the length requirement (the stories are all 4-6 pages long). I feel like they were trying to put a lot of diversity into the book, which
Apr 12, 2014 Reid rated it liked it
Sudden Fiction is by its very nature hit or miss. While most short stories are this way, the extra short only exacerbates the problem. It's a literary challenge to see what an author can tell in such a constrained amount of space, an exercise in trying to say a lot while only writing a little. Some of the authors are able accomplish this, some create incredible premises but then blow it in the end, and some read like a creative writing term paper.

Nonetheless, sometimes all you want is a complete
Stan Murai
Apr 25, 2013 Stan Murai rated it really liked it
This anthology collects short-short stories,
sixty altogether, all less than 2000 words,
typically five pages in length. I don't know
if they necessarily represent a new literary
genre or just a reflection of what might be
the case of many readers, a short attention
span that needs to contain an entire work of
fiction within the time limitations of our quickly
distracted lives. Anyway, most readers will find
something of interest; the quality of the works
vary, but that may also represent individual t
Nov 29, 2011 Lauren rated it it was ok
This book was assigned as the textbook in a short stories class I'm taking this semester. Most of the stories were very odd and I honestly didn't care for most of them. They did provide material for very interesting discussions though. I'd say that the best of the stories were concentrated in the beginning. My favorite stories were "The Red Fox Fur Coat", "A History of Everything, Including You", "Pompeii", "The Minimalist" and "Incarnations of Burned Children".
Mar 19, 2008 Monica rated it really liked it
Great, diverse set of short fiction. The stories were perfectly engaging of an overly stressed mind at bedtime. I would read a short story and launch my mind into creative dreaming, as opposed to stressed out apocalypse dreams that I usually have.
These stories are so great, I've even read one over the phone to someone.
Mar 02, 2014 Jason rated it really liked it
Shelves: short-stories
This book is a compilation of short-short stories all under 2,000 words in length. These stories range from the mind blowing to the pretty damn good, but it's definitely worthy of the read for anyone looking for a quick tale or an introduction into what editors of this length of short-short story are looking for. The first two stories make for great openers.
Sep 21, 2010 Ryan added it
Requested this also for a Bender story. It begins with a great sentence: "My lover is experiencing reverse evolution." I suppose she writes metaphorical stories - reverse evolution stands for the growing apart, or something. I prefer to think of them literally, though, because the ideas are so great - literally.
Feb 04, 2010 Krista rated it liked it
This is a great book to have at the office - the stories so short you can read one during a coffee break, or several over lunch. A few favorites: "A History of Everything, Including You" (Hollowell); "The Gold Lunch" (Carlson).
Jan 11, 2008 Spencer rated it it was amazing
60% of these are great -- short and searing,s o they leave a lasting impression. it takes a special kind of writing to create that kind of effect. although not all the stories were home runs, you're seldom bound to love everything published in a collection like this
Susan Howson
Jan 27, 2008 Susan Howson rated it really liked it
I bought this to be supportive, and I liked it so much that I'm glad I did. There are a couple of really dumb ones, but they only take a few minutes to read, so who cares. Ugh, now everything else on my bookshelf seems too dense to consider reading.
Jul 03, 2009 Pavi rated it it was amazing
So far so good. I'm really enjoying what I've read so far. All of the stories are less 2000 words, yet some of them convey so much feeling and emotion in such a short time. One of my favorite is "A History of Everything, Including You" by Jenny Hollowell.
Mar 06, 2016 Sunni rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
Some truly funky pieces of flash fiction, some heartbreaking and others hilarious, and some so strange I had nothing to say about them. But a good smattering of short fiction for students to see what makes a short piece tick. A really good sweep of strong writers too.
This book was assigned for a contemporary fiction class I took and I only read half of it, going back to read the rest. Some of the short-shorts are amazing, others... not so. Perfect read for bus/transit.
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