There are 51 stories in Diane Williams’s new book of short stories, Vicky Swanky is a Beauty (McSweeney’s Books, 118 pages), and not one of them is longer than a page, front and back. I read the collection in a night, and spent a week and a half (with pleasure) working the text over again. Is this flash fiction? It is, except when there isn’t really a narrative. Then the pieces are prose poems. Williams uses a lot of devices consistent with prose poems – the second-person voice, the posing of questions. But whether her book can be classified as one thing or another ultimately doesn’t matter (beyond figuring out if it belongs in the “to read” or “to read, again” pile).
ZYZZYVA EventsSeptember 18, 2015
Fall Issue Celebration
Location: 7 p.m., Diesel, A Bookstore, 5433 College Ave., Oakland.
Description: An evening of readings from Issue No. 104 contributors, including Caille Millner, Mauro Javier Cardenas, Molly Spencer and Joseph Di Prisco. And featuring past contributor and special guest Kathleen Alcott, author of "Infinite Home." Free.September 22, 2015
In Conversation with Lori Ostlund
Location: 7:30 p.m., The Booksmith, 1644 Haight Street, San Francisco
Description: Ostlund, an award-winning author and contributor to ZYZZYVA, discusses her novel, "After the Parade" (Scribner), with ZYZZYVA Managing Editor Oscar Villalon. Free. More info: http://bit.ly/1Js5VkLSeptember 30, 2015
Dashiell Hammett: From Detective to Detective Writer
Location: 6 p.m., Mechanics' Institute, 57 Post St., San Francisco
Description: A conversation about Hammett with "The Lost Detective: Becoming Dashiell Hammett" author Nathan Ward, private investigator David B. Fechheimer and The Dashiell Hammett Tour's Don Herron; Moderated by ZYZZYVA Managing Editor Oscar Villalon. Free to ZYZZYVA subscribers. RSVP here: http://bit.ly/1ERg09UOctober 19, 2015
In Conversation with John Freeman
Location: 7 p.m., City Lights Bookstore, 261 Columbus Ave., San Francisco
Description: Managing Editor Oscar Villalon talks to author and ZYZZYVA contributing editor John Freeman about the launch of his new literary journal, Freeman's. Free. For more info: http://bit.ly/1Oe2rH1
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