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Kent Thompson.
Kingston, ON: Quarry Press, 1988.
112pp., paper, $9.95.
ISBN 0-919627-58-7. CIP.

Subject Headings:
Short stories, Canadian (English).
Canadian fiction (English)-20th century.

Grades 7 and up / Ages 12 and up

Reviewed by Judith Baxter.

Volume 17 Number 2
1989 March

Probably the most striking aspect of this collection is the extremely brief length of many of its stories. To those of us who are unaccustomed to this new literary form of "flash fiction," this collection may seem strange at first. These stories are accurately described as short short stories in the subtitle, as the majority of the entries fill less than half a page. In some cases, the works resemble free verse in their style and layout on the page. For example, "The Steep Creek Man 8", by Kent Thompson, clearly resembles poetry rather than prose in both form and imagery.

Many of the stories have appeared in previous publications such as Fiddlehead, Malahat Review, and ThisMagazine dating back to 1972. Over twenty-five Canadian authors are represented from New Brunswick to British Columbia, including Janet Howarth, Sara McDonald, William J. Klebeck and Douglas Glover.

Representing images, flashbacks, or specific incidents, the stories often leave the reader to fill in the details or simply wonder about them. From the point of view of a teacher or librarian attempting to interest young people in reading and discussing a variety of fiction types or as an exercise in writing similar "postcard" fiction, it would be useful for grades 7 and up.

Judith Baxter, Wychwood Library, Toronto, ON.
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