14 June 2011

The Kissing Game : Short Stories by Aidan Chambers

In a note from the author, he talks a little bit about the style of "flash fiction."  As he explains it, flash fictions "are like a flash of light, a spark, which allows one quick view of a whole scene or person or event."  "They can be prose with or without dialogue, or only dialogue."  "Some of the greatest authors of literature wrote flash fictions.  For example, Kafka, Chekhov, Hemingway, Raymond Carver, Italo Calvino, and Kawabata, which he called 'palm-of-the-hand' stories."  Flash fictions are often very short stories, usually weighing in at 1,000 words or less.

In this collection of flash fictions, Aidan Chambers presents a variety of scenarios and emotions, including revenge, anger, and hypocrisy, mixed in alongside individuals' needs to guard what we love, fight back against our fears, and project airs of self-confidence in the view of those we want to appreciate us.  Love can be uncomprehendingly confusing, or heartbreakingly simple, often simultaneously.  These stories combine conflicting feelings and intentions to present unflinching looks at love and relationships from the perspective of the individual (rather than focusing on just the idea of "love").

Reviewed by kate the librarian.

P.S. Aidan Chambers is a Printz Award-winning author and the author of one of my all time favorites, This is All: The Pillow Book of Cordelia Kenn, which is just about as far from a short story as one can get.

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