“The Forest of Stone” Flash Fiction by Lance Manion

His humour is based on his ability to make connections you don’t expect, as many short story writers and poets do. “The Bigger Man,” shows us that the perfectly normal can be absurd. Or that the absurd can be perfectly normal. Or something like that. You can never be sure what the point is.

Creativity pushes to the boundaries and beyond. One story contains possibly the most interesting erotic scene I have ever read. It involves noses, and I will say no more.  Another is populated by tapeworms he refuses to give names to, thus robbing them of the ability to have a  conversation. You see what I mean?

You never know when you start a story if it’s going to be funny or serious. Sometimes when you finish you’re still not sure. At other times you just say, “Huh?” and go on to the next. But you might come back, because maybe…

One alter-ego, a spy called Nap Lapkin, is so perfidious that not even Snuffleupagus is safe from his predation.

And then comes one with as straightforward a message as “Falling Upstairs.” Or as poignant as “Trophy Wife.”

He plays with syntax. He jokes about word meaning. He mangles words and mashes them together until they become nonsense syllables. He breaks the fourth wall often, bringing us into the story and into Manion’s world.

And underneath it all is the character of the narrator. We don’t know how much this resembles the character of the author (I rather hope it does) but by the end of the book we know much more about him than we do about what the heck he was writing about. And considering he says the same thing in the “About the Author” section at the end, I guess I got the point.

Typical and atypical Flash Fiction. Highly recommended if you’re one of those weird people who like the genre. Otherwise, just go ahead and read a couple of the stories at random. You might like them. You can’t help but like Lance.

Five Stars

About the Author: Gordon Long

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