52FF by Marc Nash
|52FF by Marc Nash|
|Genre: Short Stories|
|Reviewer: Jill Murphy|
|Summary: Fascinating collection of flash fiction which readers can devour or dip in and out of as they please. A slightly dark background and joy in playing with words connect a wide variety in subject and tone. Recommended. Marc Nash was kind enough to pop into Bookbag Towers and chat to us.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 100||Date: September 2011|
|Publisher: Amazon Media|
|External links: Author's website|
52FF is a collection of short stories in the flash fiction format. If you're new to flash fiction, you should know there are various definitions but here, Marc Nash chooses a format of under 1,000 words. This gives him some leeway and so the pieces are in a wide variety of styles - some experimental - but all of them exploring a single central metaphor and all with a darkness about them which is sometimes explicit and sometimes only emerges after you've had time to think and digest.
My favourite was The Caller to the Bingo Caller's House Calls "House", which begins in a lighthearted pastiche of the "two fat ladies" bingo calls and moves through an explosion of violence to a chilling and cold-hearted finale, and in which everything is implied in a way that makes one's own inferences extremely troubling. It made me shiver. I also loved Bowing Out which sees an aging actress making up for the last time in front of her brightly-lit mirror. And there's 27 Grams (The Weight of The World) - a marvellous and darkly comedic piece of extended word play based around a strippergram deprogramming her strict upbringing.
Flash fiction is a fascinating form - unlike a traditional short story, the structure is often subtle. You might need to look for the beginning, the middle and the end. The resolution may not be obvious to you. Some aspects of a particular piece may not occur to you until after the second, third or even fourth reading. I love this concept and I think Marc Nash has understood it perfectly. Some of his pieces are smash, bang, inyerface stuff but deliver subtleties on a second reading. Others seem opaque at first but obvious later. Some are funny then sad. Others are sad then funny.
Nash includes a "prompts" section at the end, which provides the inspiration behind each of the pieces. These I thoroughly enjoyed - they made me read some of the stories over again and with completely new eyes.
I loved the obvious fascination with words and images. I loved the many layers hidden within the brevity. And I loved the darkness and the satire. This anthology is a gift that keeps on giving. I read it much more quickly than the story-a-week that Nash recommends - such is the plight of the reviewer - but it's made me think and I know it'll be saved on my Kindle for regular revisits.
Recommended to all those who like strong, energetic writing and those who enjoy the creativity in the new formats so suited to this brave new digital world we find ourselves part of.
You'll find some more flash fiction mixed in with longer pieces in Suddenly, a Knock on the Door by Etgar Keret and the poetic Revenge of the Lawn by Richard Brautigan. You could also visit Twitter and look up the #fridayflash community.
You can read more book reviews and buy 52FF by Marc Nash at Amazon
Marc Nash was kind enough to be interviewed by Bookbag.
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