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Short Takes: Brief Encounters with Contemporary Nonfictionby Judith Kitchen
Synopses & Reviews
In the years since the perennially popular and were published, readers have come to delight in the deft focus of the succinct piece we now call The Short. Extending this trend, presents over seventy-five writers whose range and style demonstrate the myriad ways we humans have of telling our truths. Themes develop and speak to or collide with one another: musings about parents, childhood, sports, weather, war, solitude, nature, loss--and, of course, love. The stellar roster of contributors includes well-known writers--Verlyn Klinkenborg, Jo Ann Beard, David Sedaris, Dorothy Allison, Salman Rushdie, and Terry Tempest Williams--along with Michael Perry, Mark Spragg, Jane Brox, and others whose literary stars are clearly rising. Each short--whether a few paragraphs or reaching 2,000 words, and reflecting almost every way nonfiction can be written--invites us to experience the power of the small to move, persuade, and change us.
"Among the 77 nonfiction pieces (each under 2,000 words) collected here, the personal tales by Anika Fajardo, Dinty W. Moore, Jim Krusoe, and Tod Goldberg best emulate the short-fiction strategy of hooking readers right away, building suspense, and finishing with a satisfying payoff. Some selections such as Lia Purpura's 'Brief Treatise Against Irony,' simply try too hard. Others, including Ben Anastas's 'O Pioneers!' and Sonja Livingston's 'A Thousand Mary Doyles,' are concise to the point of feeling unfinished. That said, some of the most satisfying inclusions are the shortest, including the one-paragraph pieces 'Fats' by Hilton Als and 'Grief' by Julian Barnes, and Sven Birkerts's one-sentence essay entitled, appropriately, 'One Long Sentence.' Selections are grouped by themes, including travel, animals, and sports. James Richardson's 'Aphorisms & Ten-Second Essays' and Patricia Hampl's 'Reading,' respectively the opening and penultimate contributions, both focus on literature and reading, neatly framing the other entries. The result is a book that, while uneven, is certainly worthwhile." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Invigorating creative nonfiction--short, but never slight--gathered by the co-editor of and .
Seventy-five writers including Verlyn Klinkenborg, Jo Ann Beard, David Sedaris, Dorothy Allison, Salman Rushdie, Jerry Tempest Williams, Michael Perry, Mark Spragg, and Jane Brox reflect on the power of short works to move, persuade, and change readers.
About the Author
Judith Kitchen (1941-2014), poet, novelist, and essayist, lived in Port Townsend, Washington, where she and her husband established a low-residency writing program.
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