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Sudden Fiction International: 60 Short-Short Stories

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“Sudden Fiction International is even better than its predecessor. It's a fine teaching tool, a good gift, it's Around-the-World-in-Sixty-Stories, with many surprises, new friends, old friends, almost every stop a brief wonder in itself.” —Alan Cheuse “Sudden Fiction International is even better than its predecessor. It's a fine teaching tool, a good gift, it's Around-the-World-in-Sixty-Stories, with many surprises, new friends, old friends, almost every stop a brief wonder in itself.” —Alan Cheuse


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“Sudden Fiction International is even better than its predecessor. It's a fine teaching tool, a good gift, it's Around-the-World-in-Sixty-Stories, with many surprises, new friends, old friends, almost every stop a brief wonder in itself.” —Alan Cheuse “Sudden Fiction International is even better than its predecessor. It's a fine teaching tool, a good gift, it's Around-the-World-in-Sixty-Stories, with many surprises, new friends, old friends, almost every stop a brief wonder in itself.” —Alan Cheuse

30 review for Sudden Fiction International: 60 Short-Short Stories

  1. 5 out of 5

    Tim

    Short-short fiction had an in-vogue period back in the late 80s-early 90s, when every bookstore and literary magazine seemed to be touting it. I haven't studied this question, but my guess is that these days short fiction is still popular, but that very short pieces are no longer the flavor of the month. Personally, I think the style has its merits, and can provide quick intense snapshots of things - but if it is good it leaves you wanting more. Anyway, this is a worthy collection of short piece Short-short fiction had an in-vogue period back in the late 80s-early 90s, when every bookstore and literary magazine seemed to be touting it. I haven't studied this question, but my guess is that these days short fiction is still popular, but that very short pieces are no longer the flavor of the month. Personally, I think the style has its merits, and can provide quick intense snapshots of things - but if it is good it leaves you wanting more. Anyway, this is a worthy collection of short pieces collected from all around the globe. The USA probably has the most items in here, but many nations across the globe are represented, sometimes by prominent writers and sometimes not. To be honest, I can't say I was deeply moved by much here, but that could be due more to the nature of a collection like this than to the quality of the writing. Once you begin getting into the mood and style of a writer's work, all of a sudden the piece ends and you are on a different continent and listening to a very different voice. Looking at what other Goodreaders have to say, it seems like we all have different favorites from this grab-bag. Here are a few of mine: R.K. Narayan's story about a grumpy ascetic who lives across the lane from a woman of ill repute had a nice twist at the end. Monica Wood's "Disappearing", a mysterious piece about a fat woman who begins swimming a lot in a public pool and starts getting thinner and thinner. Jeanette Winterson's intense, surreal piece got my full attention. She mixes together elements of classic myths and contemporary attitude and feminism. Big names like Nadine Gordimer and Donald Barthelme make interesting contributions; hers a dark tale of a sick, suicidal woman and his an amusing look at a classroom where everything they deal with seems to die tragically. I also liked J. Bernlef's realistic, suspenseful tale of a boy whose father is attacked by rabid dog.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Alan

    1991 notebook: Outstanding stories, Trancedi (the Two headed baby), Babel's Di Grasso, the South American one about potatoes. Wonderful book. 1991 notebook: Outstanding stories, Trancedi (the Two headed baby), Babel's Di Grasso, the South American one about potatoes. Wonderful book.

  3. 4 out of 5

    McKenna Rice

    I finally finished this book! It took me over a year. To be fair, it’s a collection of individual short-short fiction, so I couldn’t really lose the thread of a main storyline. Some of these stories were really good, some were disturbing, some were just okay, and some were so confusing. Overall it’s a good little collection of short stories, with authors such as Margaret Atwood, Joyce Carol Oates, Gabriel García Márquez, Italo Calvino, and many others.

  4. 4 out of 5

    William Baker

    A wonderful international selection whose 37 stories I liked, of which these 5 I enjoyed the most: Kenneth Bernard (USA), "Preparations" Ron Carlson (USA), "Bigfoot Stole My Wife" Paulé Bartón (Haiti), "Emilie Plead Choose One Egg" Fernando Sorrentino (Argentina), "There Is a Man in the Habit of Hitting Me on the Head with an Umbrella" Bai Xiao-yi (China), "The Explosion in the Parlour" A wonderful international selection whose 37 stories I liked, of which these 5 I enjoyed the most: Kenneth Bernard (USA), "Preparations" Ron Carlson (USA), "Bigfoot Stole My Wife" Paulé Bartón (Haiti), "Emilie Plead Choose One Egg" Fernando Sorrentino (Argentina), "There Is a Man in the Habit of Hitting Me on the Head with an Umbrella" Bai Xiao-yi (China), "The Explosion in the Parlour"

  5. 4 out of 5

    Nicolás Rodríguez Sanabria

    Hay de todo.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Bri

    Some of these are great, some not so much

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jeff Koloze

    Readers of short-short fiction can negotiate this 300-page collection of international fiction easily within one day. Several stories address the standard right-to-life issues and are of particular interest for the pro-life reader and academic. “Girl” by Jamaica Kincaid mentions abortifacients; “An Insolvable Problem of Genetics” by Josef Skvorecky refers to abortion as population control and suggests that a character’s lover had aborted. “Tancredi” by Barbara Alberti and “Looking for a Rain God Readers of short-short fiction can negotiate this 300-page collection of international fiction easily within one day. Several stories address the standard right-to-life issues and are of particular interest for the pro-life reader and academic. “Girl” by Jamaica Kincaid mentions abortifacients; “An Insolvable Problem of Genetics” by Josef Skvorecky refers to abortion as population control and suggests that a character’s lover had aborted. “Tancredi” by Barbara Alberti and “Looking for a Rain God” by Bessie Head concern infanticide; “The Grass-Eaters” by Krishnan Varma casually refers to infanticide. “Terminal” by Nadine Gordimer features euthanasia. Many stories are simply delightful reads, either comical (Julio Cortazar’s “Don’t You Blame Anyone” or Ron Carlson’s “Bigfoot Stole My Wife”) or nostalgic, manifesting the European comprehension of the importance of one’s history (Siv Cedering’s “Family Album”). Some stories are just idiotic (Richard Brautigan’s “The Weather in San Francisco”). Charles Baxter’s “Introduction” is worthwhile reading for both casual reader and academic not only to understand the history behind the short-short story, but also to explain how this category of fiction became popular in an Internet, Facebook world.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Stephen Gallup

    This is a very nice international collection of short stories--excellent bedtime reading! As in all collections, the appeal is uneven. I found three stories absolutely delightful: - "Don't You Blame Anyone," by Julio Cortàzar, which describes in agonizing detail a man's struggle to pull a sweater over his head - "The Elephant," by Slawomir Mrozek, about what happened when a zoo director uses an inflatable rubber elephant instead of a real one in order to save money - "Bigfoot Stole My Wife," b This is a very nice international collection of short stories--excellent bedtime reading! As in all collections, the appeal is uneven. I found three stories absolutely delightful: - "Don't You Blame Anyone," by Julio Cortàzar, which describes in agonizing detail a man's struggle to pull a sweater over his head - "The Elephant," by Slawomir Mrozek, about what happened when a zoo director uses an inflatable rubber elephant instead of a real one in order to save money - "Bigfoot Stole My Wife," by Ron Carlson, which is essentially about credibility There are others that I admired very much, such as “The Grass-Eaters,” by Krishnan Varma and “The Verb to Kill,” by Luisa Valenzuela. Unfortunately, there are also some that left me cold, either because of cultural differences or my own impatience. The fault is probably mine. Still, on the strength of the ones that grabbed me, it’s a great reading experience.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Lucynell

    This is a big collection, 60 stories from all over the world, so it would be really something if they got it wrong. Then again, it would be really something if they nailed every single one of them. So there's some really good ones and some plain indifferent. It's a respectable effort because it introduces writers you may not be aware of and the 'Afternotes' at the end is a fine introduction. I guess it's all a matter of taste and these are my favorites: Happy Endings - Margaret Atwood, Canada Girl This is a big collection, 60 stories from all over the world, so it would be really something if they got it wrong. Then again, it would be really something if they nailed every single one of them. So there's some really good ones and some plain indifferent. It's a respectable effort because it introduces writers you may not be aware of and the 'Afternotes' at the end is a fine introduction. I guess it's all a matter of taste and these are my favorites: Happy Endings - Margaret Atwood, Canada Girl - Jamaica Kincaid, Antigua The Other Wife - Colette, France Welcoming The Board Of Directors - Peter Handke, Austria Disappearing - Monica Wood, United States Bigfoot Stole My Wife - Ron Carlson, United States Terminal - Nadine Gordimer, South Africa The Last Days Of A Famous Mime - Peter Carey, Australia

  10. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    I was ask to read this book for my writing intensive class. It was love at first sight after reading the first story (not really the first one on the book) 'Happy Endings' From here on I was hooked. I couldn't wait for my professor to assign us more stories to read and when I said I couldn't wait, I mean it! I read most of it before I was even ask to. Some of my top favorite stories are: The Grasshopper and the bell cricket. The elephant. Lost Keys. Theres a man with the habit of hitting me in the h I was ask to read this book for my writing intensive class. It was love at first sight after reading the first story (not really the first one on the book) 'Happy Endings' From here on I was hooked. I couldn't wait for my professor to assign us more stories to read and when I said I couldn't wait, I mean it! I read most of it before I was even ask to. Some of my top favorite stories are: The Grasshopper and the bell cricket. The elephant. Lost Keys. Theres a man with the habit of hitting me in the head with an umbrella. I recommend this book to my friends who dont like to read but feel like they should. To people who love short stories or are trying to fall in love with them! and just to those of us who love to read but don't have enough time for novels! :)

  11. 5 out of 5

    Dana

    This is really an great collection of short stories. I wish I had it in front of me right now, because there are definitely a few that stand alone (unfortunately, my knack for recalling details isn't what it should be). I remember one short story in particular about a group of kids that steal their dad's/parent's heads and run off playing with them on. It was so enchanting. Granted, some of the stories leave a lot to be desired, but putting together a collection of short stories by international This is really an great collection of short stories. I wish I had it in front of me right now, because there are definitely a few that stand alone (unfortunately, my knack for recalling details isn't what it should be). I remember one short story in particular about a group of kids that steal their dad's/parent's heads and run off playing with them on. It was so enchanting. Granted, some of the stories leave a lot to be desired, but putting together a collection of short stories by international authors is a feat to pull off. Overall, I think they were successful with this one.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jackie

    I love this collection of stories. Two of my favorites are "On Hope" by Spencer Holst and the "The grasshopper and the bell cricket" by Kawabata. I carried this book in my backpack, along with everything else, during college so that I could grab a quick blast of literature between classes in nursing school. It was the perfect mental palate cleanser between Anatomy/Physiology and Pharmacology. I love this collection of stories. Two of my favorites are "On Hope" by Spencer Holst and the "The grasshopper and the bell cricket" by Kawabata. I carried this book in my backpack, along with everything else, during college so that I could grab a quick blast of literature between classes in nursing school. It was the perfect mental palate cleanser between Anatomy/Physiology and Pharmacology.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Eric McLean

    Meh. It was ok. I don't think I really like international contemporary fiction for the most part. These stories were just weird and mostly pointless. Breaking the "rules" of creative writing can be great, but for most of these stories it was done to be different and separate from what I would consider modern fiction. There were a few good stories, but mostly this left me feeling uninspired. Meh. It was ok. I don't think I really like international contemporary fiction for the most part. These stories were just weird and mostly pointless. Breaking the "rules" of creative writing can be great, but for most of these stories it was done to be different and separate from what I would consider modern fiction. There were a few good stories, but mostly this left me feeling uninspired.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Leeda

    Over ten years later, and I still vividly remember several of the stories from this stellar collection. The bad luck necklace, the sad little boy with his blackberries in his new cap, and Margaret Atwood's insistence that happy endings just depend upon when you end the story... this book is full of such wonderful stories and memories. Over ten years later, and I still vividly remember several of the stories from this stellar collection. The bad luck necklace, the sad little boy with his blackberries in his new cap, and Margaret Atwood's insistence that happy endings just depend upon when you end the story... this book is full of such wonderful stories and memories.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Lucysnow1851

    Flash fiction, a fiction of extreme brevity, less than 1000 words. Because they are so short, they are poignant and memorable, and this collection of 60 short stories is from many countries, Botswana, Haiti, Cyprus and New Zealand. My favorite was from Canada, Margaret Atwood, "Happy Endings" a story with many endings, which you can choose your own. Flash fiction, a fiction of extreme brevity, less than 1000 words. Because they are so short, they are poignant and memorable, and this collection of 60 short stories is from many countries, Botswana, Haiti, Cyprus and New Zealand. My favorite was from Canada, Margaret Atwood, "Happy Endings" a story with many endings, which you can choose your own.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Denis

    Three stars as in, 'I liked it', but am disappointed in that I felt indifferent towards too many of the stories. My favourite of the series is still, New Sudden Fiction. It now contains way more sticky notes than the others in the collection. Three stars as in, 'I liked it', but am disappointed in that I felt indifferent towards too many of the stories. My favourite of the series is still, New Sudden Fiction. It now contains way more sticky notes than the others in the collection.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Vincent

    I really enjoy the short short method. Usually 2-6 pages. The first story, "The Falling Girl" was my favorite, although I found about 8 more stories in contention. The international contributions made opening the book for the next story always a new adventure. Enjoy! I really enjoy the short short method. Usually 2-6 pages. The first story, "The Falling Girl" was my favorite, although I found about 8 more stories in contention. The international contributions made opening the book for the next story always a new adventure. Enjoy!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Matthew Lawrence

    Read it in high school, then again in college, and was surprised how many stories I remember just from the titles. My memory's generally awful so this amazed me. Read it in high school, then again in college, and was surprised how many stories I remember just from the titles. My memory's generally awful so this amazed me.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Lotte

    Many of these stories did not hold my interest, even for 2-4 pages. But the book is almost worth reading just for "Happy Endings" and "Disappearing." Many of these stories did not hold my interest, even for 2-4 pages. But the book is almost worth reading just for "Happy Endings" and "Disappearing."

  20. 5 out of 5

    John Mcdonough

    'Death of the right fielder' 'happy endings' 'august 25th, 1983' 'the elephant' 'the boy' 'the grass-eaters' 'gregory' 'disappearing' 'bigfoot stole my wife' 'snow' 'Death of the right fielder' 'happy endings' 'august 25th, 1983' 'the elephant' 'the boy' 'the grass-eaters' 'gregory' 'disappearing' 'bigfoot stole my wife' 'snow'

  21. 5 out of 5

    Leiune

    Reading this for my Short Stories class, and we're kind of jumping around. So far my favorite is "The Falling Girl." Reading this for my Short Stories class, and we're kind of jumping around. So far my favorite is "The Falling Girl."

  22. 4 out of 5

    Benjamin Rubenstein

    A book of "sudden fiction": proof that you can make up a term and if you label it well, you can create a new genre and get published. Now I want to write sudden fiction. A book of "sudden fiction": proof that you can make up a term and if you label it well, you can create a new genre and get published. Now I want to write sudden fiction.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Christi

    Hit and miss

  24. 5 out of 5

    Richard

    They should really call this series Hit or Miss.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    Interesting collection of multicultural short stories.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Lise

    There were some five-star firecrackers in this package! And a few duds.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Debbie Barr

    This was an excellent collection of short stories. I read it for my creative writing class, and the pieces were all very enjoyable and interesting. Made for some good discussion.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Kathy

    "Preparations" by Kenneth Bernard is my favorite of the collection, and possibly one of my favorite short stories ever. "Preparations" by Kenneth Bernard is my favorite of the collection, and possibly one of my favorite short stories ever.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Lizzie

    every night before bed :)

  30. 4 out of 5

    Richard Hartwell

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