Short Stories All the Time

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... a few of my thoughts about 900, mostly contemporary, short stories.
Showing posts with label Fincke. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Fincke. Show all posts

04 October, 2015

Gary Fincke, "The Lightning Tongues"

Told in first-person point of view we see Danny, a newsstand employee, think about the disappearance and murder of his friend, Stacey. I'm pretty sure Danny is not guilty of her murder but when I remember the unreliability of first-person, I could be convinced her killed her. Then at times, I'm sure that Stacey's husband, Wade, killed her. The police seem to think he did it. Then at times, it seems like her boss and the pet store manager, Chet Gable, might have done it. He was the one having sex with her while she was technically still married to Wade.

For me, the theme ends up being in the last line of the story, "...somebody so familiar he couldn't possibly be dangerous." Is Danny stalking his next victim? It's a great read and different each time, which is my favorite kind of story.

"The Lightning Tongues" was first published in the South Dakota Review and then included in Fincke's collection, Sorry I Worried You. The collection won the Flannery O'Connor Award for Short Fiction in 2004. My copy of the book has the gold sticker and notice that it is the winning selection for the Flannery O'Connor Award.

27 September, 2015

Gary Fincke, "Wire's Wire, until It's a Body"

Ray and his wife Cindy fight their demons. Both of them are afraid of disappearing or being irrelevant. Ray's father has just died and while driving home from the funeral, Cindy has her first obsessive hallucination. She thinks she hit someone with the car and then she begins seeing dead bodies anytime she drives. Ray has not achieved tenure and his grace year period has just ended. He has to accept unemployment compensation. Later we find out that he'd never opened several hundred emails and we can only imagine all of the admonishments as well as opportunities enclosed in those emails.

The story is subtle and needs to be read at least a couple of times to catch the characterizations. Even Ray's father while trying to avoid unpleasantries, holds them close. "He said he couldn't read the map without his glasses, so he didn't put them on."

The themes, for me, are fear and anger and avoidance. Neither Ray, nor Cindy, can face that, "Everything I did is me," even as they know it to be true.

 "Wire's Wire, until It's a Body" was first published in Sonora Review and then included in Fincke's collection, Sorry I Worried You, which won the Flannery O'Connor Award.

LINKS:
an interview with Derek Alger at Pif Magazine