Short fiction apparently doesn’t sell perhaps because it is notoriously ‘difficult’. It’s stuff to be studied in universities, not read for pleasure. Or is it? Hershman’s fictions are experimental yet accessible, and their length acts in their favour in a world where we are all apparently time-poor and attention deficit disordered.
The title story is a great place to start. It showcases Hershman’s ability to extend an apt metaphor, and make it resound with meaning, humour and pathos in a minimum of words:
“My mother was an upright piano, spine erect, lid tightly closed, unplayable except by the maestro. My father was not the maestro.”
The whole story is barely more than a page long, but this first line takes you right to the heart of the issue. Getting the opening right is one of the big challenges of short form writing, and it’s one of Hershman’s real strengths.Ebba ends by saying: "Good book for people with no time. Read on public transport, between meetings, when the baby’s having a nap. Recommended for aspiring short fiction writers. Read this and learn your craft."Thank you Ebba and Bookmunch! Read the full review here.