Reviews, Vol. 5.1, March 2011
Press 53, 2011
Perfect bound, 171 pp., $14.95
Review by Cynthia Reeser
Meg Pokrass’ debut collection of flash fiction, Damn Sure Right, borrows its title from a line of dialogue in the title story. The title is evidence of a celebration of the quirkiness of language. Pokrass uses that focus to drive her stories, all of which are quirky, lively, and ultimately themselves, that is to say, unique, and they always have the lure of the unexpected. Each vignette is a carrot held before the reader that makes this book go by so quickly, too quickly.
Pokrass’ writing is an exploration of love, coming of age, youth, what happens when loved ones leave or die. There is no world in her writing without the presence or absence of love or lust. “What They Were Not,” is one story that celebrates unique ways of looking at things, and ultimately seems a driving motivation behind the author’s technique and sensibility:
He said he wanted to leave things in better shape than he found them. The day he disappeared I was looking at the way trees were like shaved carrots. I was better than he had found me perhaps, but I did not forgive him. Every day I saw things more like what they were not. Soon it felt too big–houses were caves in soft sand, dogs were children with hungry smiles.
And isn’t that the way we as authors train ourselves to look at the world, in unique or fresh ways? In this story, Pokrass expands one of the prime motivators of the writer into a narrative shape. As one of the first stories in the book, “What They Were Not” sets the tone for what is to come.
Each story in Damn Sure Right is a vignette, a window into the mind of a character, all of whom have unique ways of seeing the world, which is to say that the author has a gift for characterization and for making the ordinary new again.