Flash Clash Challenge: Day #15

As promised I’m back today for Day #15 of my Flash Clash Challenge, and it’s been another excellent session of flash reading.

Just as it was yesterday it was Alex Burrett and Etgar Keret who emerged as the victors in this round of reading. Burrett’s tale, The Expanding House – a story which follows widower Frank as he returns to his empty house following the tragic death of his wife at the hands of a drink driver – is memorable; made so by the overbearing feeling of sorrow and heartbreak that Burrett has injected into it. I defy anyone not to be moved by this one.

The story from Keret, Good Intentions, follows a hitman whose normal cold and professional demeanor is challenged by a moral dilemma, brought about when he recognises the identity of his target. As one may expect from Keret the story isn’t a straightforward and linear story – it’s runs deeper than that – and there’s a beautiful little sting in the tail near the end.

With Burrett and Keret coming out tops again in this ‘challenge’, I feel I should say that both of these stories are longer than what I would consider to be ‘flash’ length (not a fault of the writers because neither have declared them to be works of flash fiction). So the chances of these stories ‘winning out’ over the others is obvious, given that there is more freedom to expand on a story, and more opportunity to engineer it into a winning formula.

So in reality I’m pitting a 4+ page story say against a 2+ paragraph one, and that’s vastly unfair. I know it is. Ultimately though it doesn’t really matter. Why? Well because this Flash Clash challenge is nothing more than a bit of fun; a way to get me to read through these five story collections in a more unique and focused way, while offering myself an opportunity to give these great titles a little more focus. So who ‘wins’ or ‘loses’ on a particular day doesn’t really count.

What does count is that once I’ve finished reading each collection I’ll be posting an individual review for each one, based solely on its own merit. Sure I’ll be referring to the ratings that I’ve given for each of the stories as I’ve read them, but these ratings are also awarded on their own merit anyway, and are not based on how a story may compare to one from a ‘rival’ author.

OK, so now that everything is as clear as mud, and now that I’m starting to sound like some kind of government white paper, I’m going to shut up and move on to today’s rundown. Just remember though, if I say on a given day that Burrett is awesome (for instance), then I mean it. But that doesn’t mean to say, at this stage anyway, that I think everyone else in comparison is rubbish:

Author Collection Story Title *Comment Rating
Nik Perring Pieces of Us Interesting Rating: ★★★½☆
Alex Burrett The Expanding House Fabulous Rating: ★★★★½
Etgar Keret Good Intentions Sublime! Rating: ★★★★½
**David Gaffney Wednesday Night’s Alright for Fighting
Contact Time
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Rating: ★★★☆☆
***Dan Rhodes Laughing
Rating: ★★½☆☆
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Rating: ★★★★☆

*Keeping in the spirit of flash I’m limiting myself to only giving single-word comments for each story.
**As they are incredibly short in length, David Gaffney’s stories are being ‘ticked off’ two at a time.
*** Dan Rhode’s stories are even shorter than Gaffney’s and to ensure that I finish his collection in time, I have to cover three per day.

Inspired by the publication of Nik Perring’s debut flash fiction collection, the Flash Clash Challenge is a fun contest in which three four other experts in the field are compared alongside Nik. You can find out more about it HERE.

About Rob

Rob, a self-confessed bibliophile, is without any hope of rehabilitation. He gets unnaturally excited over anything book-shaped, and if book sniffing were a crime then he would have been locked up years ago (which wouldn’t bother him in the slightest provided his cell was lined with books).