I think I’ve found the Basho of fiction.
Laura McHale Holland is the author of Just In Case : Twenty-One Bite-Sized Stories, and every single entry in this anthology is a flash masterpiece. The title story is fully-formed in under 60 words, and packs a punch that entire novels often fail to deliver.
Yes, of course, there are a lot of people writing flash fiction. Not so many writing it well. That’s the joy of this collection—Holland’s variety of finely drawn characters appear in settings and situations that are both unique and ordinary. It’s the author’s ability to expose those profound similarities that bind us all together that sets this work apart.
It takes a surprising turn or two to make a compelling plot, and Holland is a master of rotation. The sisters in “Nephew” left me reeling, the narrator in “Cold Case” turned a classic upside-down, and “Keeping to Yourself” shows Faulkner how it ought to be done.
There’s more than just a bag of plot twists here, too. “The child grew slant, stashing poems behind attic chests….” Is just one example of Holland’s lyrical prose. Sometimes her words alone lull the reader into a soporific trance as she draws us into the tale she’s telling.
The stories in Just In Case are not always finite; Holland leaves room for the reader to ponder, to extrapolate, to imagine the before and the after. Try not to overthink what is written, but allow yourself to feel and co-exist with each character’s life and motivations.
For the next few days, you have a chance to win a copy of Just In Case.
Tour-wide giveaway - Click here for a chance to win
The blog tour for Just In Case goes on through October 10, 2019. You can follow along by clicking on this link: Just In Case Blog Tour
BOOK SUMMARY from cover copy
Imagine a world where shadows of enchantment instantly render ordinary experiences eerie, terrifying or sublime, and where the unexpected becomes the norm. The twenty-one micro stories in Laura McHale Holland’s Just in Case comprise such a place: a universe where a wife betrayed relishes her revenge; a couple chugging toward retirement takes a surprising U-turn; a much maligned character finally has his say; a cozy family scene chills the blood; a curious relative cannot leave a half-human baby alone. These, and more, are what you’ll find in this book.
The dark, often revealing themes in this collection marry exquisitely with the precise flash fiction form, offering a full reading experience in few words. If you enjoy engaging, short reads with deliciously poetic prose, plenty of imagery, and context left to the imagination, you’re likely to love the concise gems found herein.
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In all of her work, Laura McHale Holland strives to stir people’s emotions and find hope hidden in unlikely places. Her novel, The Kiminee Dream, set for release in 2020, introduces a cast of quirky characters in a fictional Illinois river town where unseen forces both help and hinder, and people learn to rise in the face of adversity, accept what can never be and embrace big dreams anew. Laura’s published books include two memoirs, two collections of flash fiction, and an anthology on sisterhood. In addition, three of her plays have been produced in San Francisco’s North Bay region.
Author links: Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter