Thursday, December 06, 2007
Breaking it Down
I had the pleasure of meeting author Rusty Barnes at the Boxcar Lounge in the East Village recently. This was the first of a new reading series hosted by Tuesday Shorts' Shelly Rich. He read three stories from his book Breaking it Down, an excellent collection of 18 flash fiction stories in a handy pocket-size paperback.
It's truly amazing what Barnes can accomplish with so few words. A story is considered flash fiction if it is not more than 1,000 words, and Barnes uses even less than that at times. But the characters he creates, their worlds and histories, their dreams, hopes, and regrets speak volumes. His prose pulls you right in, as with this opener to "Beamer's Opera":
Every morning when Beamer milked the cows he sang from his favorite operas, attaching the nozzles to their bags and patting them each on the flank, bursting into vibrato-laden songs of despair and longing while his hands were occupied with his very necessary tasks. He imagined the cows with their deep brown eyes and kind souls were listening to him as he roared forth regret and lust and love and sorrow in an alien tongue.
I definitely recommend this book. I couldn't put it down; as soon as I finished one story, I was on to the next before I even realized it. You might say I read this book in a flash. ; )