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Tender Cuts

4.54  ·  Rating details ·  52 ratings  ·  29 reviews
If Joy Williams and Raymond Carver had a love child that was often left in the care of Lydia Davis it might grow up to be Jayne Martin. Martin’s writing evokes the literary DNA of those who have influenced her most, while in a style and voice that is uniquely her own.

In these 38 tiny tales, everyday people do their best to manage the wounds life inflicts on all of us: A si
Paperback, 92 pages
Published 2019 by Vine Leaves Press
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Average rating 4.54  · 
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Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
Feb 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
Have you read flash fiction before? I have only read one other collection of stories. Many of these little bits are less than a page long, and the emotion you can feel from just a few lines of words is impressive.

The title suits the stories as there is an underlying theme of sharpness, and you’d have to read them to find out how precisely that applies. The characters are every day people doing every day things for the most part.

Overall, I enjoyed these thirty-eight tiny tales.

I received a gifted
Scarlett Readz and Runz....Through Novel Time & Distance
In the brevity of flash fiction lies an author's challenge to evoke a reader's thoughts and emotions, while artfully creating complex, synthesized literature pieces.

Martin's collection of flash fiction stories Tender Cuts range from everyday instances and places throughout different ages, moments and walks of life. While some stories created sweet nostalgia of the past, others examined a path of indifference, or on the contrary, a deep, sorrow, hurt.

There is something to be found for every re
Hit me up if you want to review this book or interview the author! I'd be happy to put a review copy in your hands.

This collection of flash fiction is touted as "tiny tales for the time challenged", and though they might appear to be small, they have incredibly sharp teeth. These 38 stories are about everyday people trying to make the most of what life throws at them.

Jenny (Reading Envy)
This collection of flash fiction is deceptively sweet looking. But if you blink, you'll miss the wicked current underneath. I definitely read most of these twice, but my favorites are those that compare people to animals in really non-flattering ways. A good example is the titular story, with a beauty queen competing next to the 4-H livestock pen at the state fair.

This would be perfect for readers who are temporarily short on time and need something punchy.

I received a copy of these from a publi
Oct 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
I'm pretty sure TENDER CUTS is my first encounter with flash fiction. We're talking very short stories: just a page, usually; sometimes only a handful of sentences. I was surprised at how much story and emotion could be packed into such a compact format. I was not a fan of the drawings at the end of each story. I felt like the words were powerful enough on their own, and the illustrations detracted from that impact. Favorite stories include "Zero Tolerance," "Blue Boy," "Thanksgiving," "Morning ...more
Feb 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Wow, what a huge experience this little book was. Just... wow! The way Jayne Martin presents these 38 stories, the words she uses, the words she doesn't, it's all crafted with skillful intention. I had expected to breeze through Tender Cuts, the individual stories being so short (this is a collection of Flash Fiction), but I ended up reading each story several times, every reading building on the previous. I only approached a few stories in a sitting, needing some extra time to process my emotio ...more
Jan 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A wonderful collection of tiny tales that pack a solid punch. The beauty is in the power of suggestion and these complex tales are filled with surprise, fear, suspense, sadness, joy and promise; they rearrange your emotions and shift your perceptions as they transport you from one mindset to another; the stories may not leave you satisfied - but you will continue to think about the characters... to wonder and to hope...

A skilled flash fiction writer put it best: "Short on words but long on depth
Joanne Nelson
Oct 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Jayne Martin packs a lot of life into these small story packages. Each feels complete and satisfying although many are standouts worth more than one read. "Morning Glory" carries the exhaustion and fear of new parenting wrapped in vines that threaten to strangle, "Cover of Darkness" haunts with beautiful language--becoming its own "pink glow spilled over the edge of the Atlantic." And "Dearly Departed" heavy with the scent of orange blossoms, has a rich, dark, satisfying humor. This is a book fi ...more
Jul 20, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tender Cuts is a flash fiction romp. Martin does a fine job of issuing "tender cuts" to the psyche of her characters. Definitely worth the read. ...more
Nancy Stohlman
Oct 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Tender Cuts is about seeing and not seeing, what we are blind to and what’s right in front of us. In this debut flash fiction collection Jayne Martin’s writing is compact, dense, often heartbreaking, always illuminating, and woven with a strange nostalgia; she has a way of reconciling the child with the adult, the pain with the beauty of tragedy, the tragedy still seeded with hope.”
Dec 12, 2020 rated it liked it
Tender Cuts is a flash fiction romp. Martin does a fine job, each story detailing a "tender cut" to the psyche of its character. ...more
Elaina Battista-Parsons
Jun 15, 2021 rated it it was amazing
There are too many gorgeous parts to this collection to choose just one favorite. Almost like a favorite album from your favorite musician. Tender Cuts wakes you, tickles, you, stabs you, and kisses you. I strive to be able to capture a notion or a scene as exquisitely as Jayne Martin. People talk about goals. Well, my goal is to be this talented someday. I love this book. I'd frame many of these pieces if I had enough wall space! ...more
Louella Lester
Jun 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Loved the book. The stories brought to mind what Alice Munro would write like if she did flash. These are stories for women, but should also be read by men. There is a sad humour in these stories. The stuff that is hidden under their skin—the stuff we don’t always see when we form opinions of people. Makes us think again.
Robert Vaughan
Apr 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
What an amazing collection! And an even better writer and person. So honored to know Jayne, and having worked, and published her unusual stories, both at Bending Genres retreats and also at our journal. This is a must read!
Jun 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
Tender Cuts is a collection of 38 powerful flash fiction tales about life and the wounds it inflicts upon ordinary people.

Stories as diverse as that of a child beauty queen; the heartbreak of the lonely; the grief of the bereaved; nagging voices from the grave; and even the story of the heart-throb lobster of the laundromat, each tale has a way of getting under your skin and making you question what it means to be human.

Tender Cuts is my first flash fiction collection and I have to admit that th
Tommy Dean
Mar 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Martin’s characters live for the long shot of glory, of love, of safety in a diminished world. These stories often focus on children waiting to do the right thing, the action that will light up the sky with their parent’s love. At the end of the story “The Understudy” it says she “wonders what it will take for them to finally take notice of her.” These characters are finally in the crosshairs of the spotlight and they won’t go backstage without a fight.
Feb 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
Tender Cuts is a small collection of flash fiction by Jayne Martin. Each story is a page or less, and they range from somber in tone to down right heartbreaking. While the nature of Flash Fiction makes it hard for a single story to stick out, I found almost everyone of these to be insightiful and enjoyable, packing a lot more emotion than most writers can in significantly longer short stories. Anyone who likes meaningful stories in bitsize portions will thoroughly enjoy this collection.

8/10. Ver
Deirdre Fagan
Jun 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
An incredible collection of flash and micro fiction. Each piece is organized like a powerful sonnet—a steady build and a frequent zinger at the closing. Certainly a collection to revisit and a fine accomplishment in craft. Each story is both tender and a cut. A perfect title if ever there was one.
Adam Byatt
Dec 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Flash fiction requires a strict control of language and imagery to sketch out for the reader a fullness that belies its length.
I have always admired an author's ability to compress an idea into short bursts that explode with the depth of a more fully formed narrative when you reach the end.
Jayne Martin's collection deftly weaves these brief pieces into cutting narratives with a brutality and tenderness. A wonderful cohesion holds this collection together.
Jan 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
From surreal to wickedly funny to riddled with emotional resonance and, yes, tenderness, the stories in Jayne Martin’s debut collection of flash fiction pack a powerful punch. I think of stories as situation-specific in contrast to the novel with its long view in time and place. The often imagistic vignettes that comprise “Tender Cuts’’ run the full spectrum of situations—sex on prom night, beauty pageants, immigrants in flight, the shared places only BFFs can take each other when one of them is ...more
Nov 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned
Between the covers of this "little" book is what appears to be not many words, short vignettes, suggesting light, easy reading, pages to skim, flip, skip. But that is not this treasure. Each of these tales of few words contains an entire movie script of harrowing, tragic, intimate story. So much information is in what is left out and what is in each sentence that denouement is both resolution and often surprise revelation. I re-read most of these shorts several times to make certain I'd correctl ...more
Jessica Winters Mireles
Jan 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Until I read Jayne Martin's "Tender Cuts," Flash Fiction was not my genre of choice. I'd always been under the impression that a reader needed more than just a paragraph to get something out of a story. But after reading Martin's collection of vignettes, I realized that everything I needed was right there all along. Martin uses her skillful mastery of words to tell a story in just a few sentences; stories so full of depth and meaning that they captivate a reader's mind while simultaneously pierc ...more
Nov 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Such powerful stories. I especially loved Dearly Departed and Pinky Swear. Some beautiful micros too.
Oct 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
wow great read,
Rick Bailey
Oct 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In “Tender Cuts,” the title story in Jayne Martin’s collection of flash fiction, a little girl dressed for her first beauty pageant awaits her moment to shine. It’s the Little Miss Soybean Pageant. Her mother is keen on her performance, more so than the daughter, Julie Sue, who feels the pressure to perform, knowing she will have to raise her skirt and show some flesh to win a little prize money the family needs. When the music starts, “Mama pushes her onto the stage.”

These thirty-eight short pi
Linda Hill
May 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Thirty-eight pieces with accompanying illustrations.

Tender Cuts has completely surprised me. I’m unused to reading flash fiction and hadn’t expected the depth of quality Jayne Martin provides. Each of these mini stories is a complete gem and equally as engaging as any full length narrative because each is carefully crafted. At a time when many are struggling to focus on reading at length, this collection is perfect. Reading Tender Cuts was akin to finding a long forgotten memory box and delving
Ann Epstein
Oct 18, 2021 rated it it was amazing
An Astonishing Range of Subjects and Emotions – The collected vignettes in Tender Cuts by Jane Martin cover an astonishing range of subjects and emotions. Many are mournful, depicting lives filled with bitter regret. In others, protagonists exact sweet revenge against those who have hurt or disappointed them. Tales that flow with melancholy break your heart, while quick jabs break the rhythm of your breathing. Each vignette is economical without being skimpy. After reading one, you never want mo ...more
Oct 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
My immediate response to reading Jayne Martin’s “Tender Cuts” is that I finally understood flash fiction’s place in literature: as the bridge between poetry and the short story.

Technically the author’s flash pieces, some as few as fifty words, are full stories possessing a beginning, middle, end and satisfying epiphany, all of which fits on a single page. But the brevity and careful word choice of each work has the feel of poetry, and in some cases, prose poetry.

And true to the book’s title — ac
rated it really liked it
Sep 25, 2021
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