Friday, September 16, 2011
Review: Flashes From The Other World
Author: Julie Ann Weinstein
Genre: Flash Fiction Collection
Price: $15.99 (paperback) / $5.99 (Kindle)
Publisher: All Things That Matter Press
Point of Sale: Amazon
Reviewed by: Cheryl Anne Gardner
Book Description: Magic without the hocus pocus, these stories explore the ethereal blur between reality and not, between dream and sleep, between love and 'other than' love. They present relationships with a tender wackiness. Tossed into the mix are mischievous ghosts, who give the talking plants and even the seductive and vocal grains of sand a run for their money. Quirky and offbeat, these stories will touch your heart, although they may tug at your funny bone first.
As many of you know, I put my own WIP aside this year in order to devote the entire year or more to writing and working strictly within the flash fiction community. I have had dozens of stories accepted for publication, and I am currently a contributing editor at Apocrypha and Abstractions, a flash fiction e-zine specializing in micro flash, so when I received the query to review Ms. Weinstein's collection, I was thrilled. I was no less thrilled reading it.
Ms. Weinstein is a very insightful writer, and her flash fiction has that ambiguous surreal quality I look for when I am going through submissions for the e-zine. I would accept her work in a heartbeat, especially for the way she approaches the darker themes.
This collection is quite an assortment. You never know what you are going to get from one story to another. We have absurdities, paranormal encounters -- real and imagined -- and we have all manner of relationships, deliberate and coincidental, happy and sad and disturbing. Weinstein has the ability to take the mundane and make it wild and extraordinary. There are some hauntingly sentimental paranormal stories, and stories that were so hilariously bizarre, you will never look at your produce the same again. In contrast, many of the stories delve into darker territory, addressing many common and perplexing psychological issues, and those were probably the ones I loved the most. Each story is unique in a cirque du strange sort of way. The thematic treatments and artistic license used here demand a reader's undivided attention, and Ms. Weinstein’s voice shines through. Writing flash fiction is a difficult task to take on. It requires a certain sharpness of vision, a command of the language, and a discipline the longer forms can ignore to a great degree. In Flashes, Ms. Weinstein is fearless in her experimentation, and that, to me, was worth experiencing. My only concern is that the cover needs a whole lot of work and does not match the quality of the words contained within.