Saturday, February 28, 2004

John Gould, Kilter: 55 fictions.

Gould's collection of short short fiction made the shortlist for the 2003 Giller prize, which is how I first heard of it. I was sufficiently impressed by the book that I wish I'd been able to read it before now.

It seems to me that the nature of short short fiction is such that it presents a few vivid images, a scene, a moment, and asks you to step back and to ask yourself what you make of the moment. Using so very few words to create moments--occasionally with striking poignancy--is truly impressive, and I come away from reading this book startled by Gould's virtuosity.

The only quibble that I have is that, because I feel each story asks for the moment of reflection--that each story demands that you step back, consider, and reflect--a collection like this is not ideal for reading in a few sittings. Its nature requires more time, more fitful time spent reading.