Book review: ‘Very Short Stories’ very entertaining
January 26, 2012
Sean Hill may be short on words, but he’s long on ideas.
After a couple years of writing 140-character stories on his Twitter feed, @VeryShortStory, he compiled a book of his 300 favorites on topics including relationships, family, life, sex, work, death and other worlds.
The art is reminiscent of a haiku, and in that vein, Hill doesn’t take his work lightly by writing down any old words that smack of a story. He crafts his pieces, creating what could be a novel in a sentence or two – though most novels don’t bring as many laughs as Hill’s breezy 206 pages. For example:
“I developed a drug that numbed the pain of being stuck in traffic, but something went wrong, and people started creating gridlock for pleasure.”
Some deliver wry wit, such as: “David likes to record. He documents each moment of his life. Photos, video, audio. He never watches any of it. Not even when it happened.”
Or: “Leeann’s words crushed Brian’s heart like a sledgehammer. Their relationship was ruined. How could she have said it? ‘Who is Spock?'”
From where do stories like this stem? According to his bio, an overexposure to “Twilight Zone” and “Monty Python” as a child.
Of course, some shorties don’t seem as inspired, and some may leave readers questioning, as if they missed a joke, but it’s all a matter of taste: The book is a treasure-trove of fascinating exploration into the craft of language and storytelling.
Hill began his project out of curiosity: “If I wrote down all the stories I could think of, would more ideas arrive to fill the void?” he explained. And lucky for readers, “So far the answer has been yes.”