Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Review: "Don't Kiss Me" by Lindsay Hunter

It is no secret if you are one of the few people who read my reviews that I really don’t care for a kind of post-modern from of fiction called “flash fiction”, which is what Lindsay’s Hunter’s short story collection Don’t Kiss Me will be described as. I am all for trying new things and new formats, and still get a chill every time I recall my reading of Mark Z. Danielewski’s House of Leaves. But flash fiction is something else entirely from that mammoth book. But I don’t dislike it completely, and in Hunter’s stories there is always something to find that make the experience one that is fruitful: whether it is a certain detail about an object or a certain thought or feeling inside a character’s head, it rings true and is most of time at least funny. But my big problem with most of the stories in this collection is that they really don’t add up to a cohesive whole. Some find that to be a quality of this book, and for the most part, flash fiction in general, but it is hard for me to convince myself that it takes any kind of skill to write stories like this, which seem to be constructed by randomness and chance with little connection to each other, leaving me cold. That isn’t to say that there are not any stories in here that are memorable. I liked the opening story with the Perkins waitress, the pseudo-play involving a recent murder and a detective who seems to detect only the bodily waste of children. Hunter is great at grossing us out, describing food and eating in the most nauseating of fashions that will stick with you. But it is a simple trick that wear thin even over the short 175 page length. It isn’t that bad for a form I don’t like that much, but if you do like flash fiction, you’ll love this.

Rating: 4/5

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