Sometimes short stories really do beat novels: they can take you deeper, or fling you wider beyond, or push you past certain boundaries. This is what I felt after I'd finished Pia Z. Ehrhardt's slim, tight, gorgeously clear collection of stories--many which I'd read before, albeit not with the same concentration, in lit mags and web journals. Contemporary short stories, where the voice often counts for more than the narrative, can be unsatisfactory, at times pretentious, other times superfluous. Not so with 'Famous Fathers' where the voice recalls a more melancholic Antonya Nelson or a less sardonic Maile Meloy: the tone here can vary from quiet desperation to quiet tragedy to quiet emotional damage--whichever it is, 'quiet' certainly defines the tone, which in my view only serves to heighten the pathos and raise the contemporary stakes.
I'm disappointed to not find more from this author, and await eagerly for a novel.