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book review:


Amelia Gray was a finalist for McSweeney’s Amanda Davis Highwire Contest. She founded a reading series called Five Things and lives in Austin, Texas. AM/PM is a collection of flash fiction that challenges our spoiled attention span but also makes us look deeper in the brevity that is minimal. These are tender vignettes on the meat-hooks of midnight, stashed away in the psyche and brought out under the moonlight. PM-wise, anyway. As for AM, it’s bright and full of wonder. “Good morning, John Mayer Con­cert Tee! I’m happy to see you survived the night. I know that I said my vespers before I pulled the covers up over my lips and nose to minimize the mosquito exposure.” The piece goes on into a brave confessional that clings to its cotton audience.

In a piece called “66:PM,” the precision is astoundingly bold. It’s all about someone with real gold flakes on his tattoo that has to get retouched every five years. Wallace is the man’s name. It ends with a comparison between Tess’s beauty and the tattoo. The last line pulls on your heartstrings like you wouldn’t believe.

In another story, Carla realizes she’s not an afternoon person. “Things got unpleas­antly bright while she dulled, squinting at the computer screen, sipping espresso and making a conscious effort to not eat too much, to not lie down, to take the phone calls and be patient, most of all, be patient.”

AM/PM is one of those small press books you will revisit and enjoy, simply for its de­ceptive flash fiction content. So much hap­pens here, it’s almost hard to keep track of the gorgeous minutiae. (Jack Cena)

by Amelia Gray, $12.95, 156 pgs, Featherproof Books, Chicago, IL,

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