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A Bright and Pleading Dagger

4.49  ·  Rating details ·  100 ratings  ·  28 reviews
A dazzling and incisive collection of 12 flash fictions illuminating the varied lives of women and girls, Nicole Rivas’s A Bright and Pleading Dagger immerses readers in its subjects’ complex experiences with desire, selfhood, and omnipresent danger. A pizza shop worker goes on a series of visceral dates with her gynecologist; a slighted lover coughs up a forgotten childho ...more
Paperback, First, 34 pages
Published August 14th 2018 by Rose Metal Press
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Average rating 4.49  · 
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 ·  100 ratings  ·  28 reviews

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Aug 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Awesome chapbook of very sharp short fictions. At the end of each story, I thought, wow. Can’t wait to read more from this author.
Nick Douglas
Sep 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
My wife and I read each other books during our evening toothbrushing, and these sometimes mystical short-shorts are the perfect length. I want to find more microfiction like this. But I also hope Rivas gets to publish longer work soon.
Mar 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019
I'd call these stories "sharp" but that would be half-assed, and they deserve more than that. This is a fantastic collection, dense and funny and weird. Other than their length (very short) the stories are formally conventional, yet I keep thinking that "weird" is the best word for them. Their weirdness is in the characters, the events, the descriptions.

Can stories be emotionally strange? I think so. These are that. They're funny until they're not, sexy until they're not, unsettling until they
Keli R
Oct 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
It arrived and I read it as soon as I opened it from the packaging. Holy cow!
Sep 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018
These reminded me of the stories of Carmen Maria Machado in their beautiful strangeness. They were all flash pieces. There were some neon images in this collection. The title story was my favorite; it left a whole novel, spooling out, unwritten in my head.
Rita Ciresi
Aug 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Loved these quirky short-shorts by the very talented Nicole Rivas. My favorites were "Like a Pill," "Crush," and "The Staring Contest." I'll be sharing some of these with my fiction-writing students. ...more
Jennifer Kabay
A chapbook is basically a tiny book. Usually around 40 pages. I only discovered this because I was alphabetizing fiction, and saw it squished between two bigger books. A chapbook can be poetry, but this is a compilation of flash fiction and can I just say — holy freaking COW this author is good. The stories are short, visceral gut punches. I tore through the whole thing in 45 minutes and wanted more.
Reagen Ward
Jan 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I love flash fiction even more than short fiction, an affection I can blame on Barry Hannah’s class at Ole Miss, but few authors can pull it off. I keep seeking it out optimistically and finding myself disappointed, but not this time. Rivas was born to write in the form.

Each of the twelve stories - all if them compelling, some disturbing - feel both complete and leading at the same time. All 12 made me pause and ponder. All were at least good, some were excellent, and some were truly exceptional
Dec 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
A great book for flash fiction lovers. I have a new favorite! The stories are told through different POVs and are sprinkled with the perfect amount of magical realism. My favorite story is Polly Pocket!

It is written in such a simple way, yet so effective; not at all short of leaving you finishing each story with a gasp, dropped jaw, smile, laugh, or even disgusted expression. It proves to show the potential of how powerful your writing can be without needing "special" or "fancy" words to spice u
Helen | readwithneleh
My first taste of flash fiction and I loved it. I was not expecting to enjoy it so much since I love complex and layered character-driven stories. But, Nicole Rivas does a great job doing just that in the shortest form possible. I really can’t wait to see what she does in longer form.
Sep 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
What a great tiny little book. I loved each short story and can’t wait to discover more of Nicole’s work.
J. Bradley
Aug 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What a way for the Rose Metal Press Chapbook Contest series to end. This will be a collector's item for sure. Get it if you love flash fiction or chapbooks. If you wait too long, you may not get to read this unless Rose Metal reprints this. ...more
Al Kratz
Aug 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
12 bits of flash Fiction perfection. I’m writing a review of it for Alternating Current.
Jan 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Rivas creates a crisp and moving set of flash fiction pieces. Highly recommend.
Jan 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Wow. 5/5!

I savoured this book, only allowing myself 2-3 stories at a time.

By far the most realistic and captivating story (for me, anyway) was the final story, which is also the title of the book.

Fans of Her Body and Other Stories by Carmen Maria Machado and also Watermark by Christy Ann Conlin will enjoy this book.
Feb 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful collection of very short stories about the lives and experiences of women.
Feb 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed Rivas' flashes, maybe even more going back to them after a few days. The one story I didn't like was the titular one, mostly because I felt it was very different in tone than the others, like it belonged in another collection (but also didn't like the helplessness of the characters - in other flashes they're impressively nuanced) ...more
Nov 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Rivas achieves her goal of being both controversial and unconventional while sharing the harsh reality of our world’s ever-present gender restrictions. She challenges society to act upon its declarations of feminism by sharing the grotesque, often overlooked details of the consequences of the double standard.
Randyl Music
Nov 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a really interesting read because almost every poem leaves you with a twist you were not expecting.
Jalen Cupp
Nov 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Nicole Rivas has a way with words that make the reader feel uncomfortable, known, and accepted in the span of the 33 pages.
Oct 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019
Aug 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018-books
These were really good. Rivas tells beautiful stories, but I wish the stories were longer! There is something to be said though for the ability to tell brief stories so well
Rebecca Courtney
Nov 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Nicole Rivas uses details that surprise and shock readers out of passive reading. More than reading, it feels like watching a movie, just letting the scene play out in front of you.
Cana Cooper
Nov 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Rivas choses unique but important topics and speaks with her audience using a creative and heart-touching connection.
Hannah Stone
Nov 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
In her stories, Rivas explores the overlooked. Her brief pieces are full of energy and color.
Short, sharp, and perfect, each piece is a world unto itself and simultaneously a facet of the whole.
Brianna Gwathney
Nov 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Nicole Rivas is a gifted storyteller, offering new perspective and twists on common fairytales.
Mar 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Brilliant chapbook about the things “girls’ lives do and do not depend upon”
rated it really liked it
Dec 22, 2018
rated it really liked it
Aug 17, 2019
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Nicole Rivas is a prose writer from Los Angeles and the Inland Empire. She currently teaches writing courses in Savannah, GA.

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