Every once in a while, I get a book in the mail that is unique from anything else I’ve ever read. As a collection of short stories, Stella Pierides’ Feeding the Doves: 31 Short and Very Short Stories, and Haibun has given me a new definition of what short means, not to mention how quickly a story can be told.
Few stories are longer than a page, and none are longer than five pages. Each feels like an intimate glimpse someones life, a brief moment in time. And given that each is so quick, so fast, and yet so personal, it’s saying something that Pierides is able to levy language to create this impact in such sort space. Interspersed in some of the stories are haiku, providing a poetic flare that sets of the prose.
One of my favorite stories from Feeding the Doves was The Accident about a writer who loses control of his own writing, watching from an almost voyeuristic vantage point as the characters go their own path in spite of his best efforts. He walks away, then comes back, only to watch his computer crash, taking control of the story forever from his hands.
In another, A Quiet Miracle, we watch the moment of parenthood, coming unexpected and beautifully.
At the other end of life, Missed Many Boats, an entire story feels crafted around one line, all tightened around one page: “But, no one misses the boat to Hades.” It is the underworld where the dead dwell in Greek mythology, and references to Greece and its geography and culture, ancient and modern, pepper Pierides’ stories. It’s a wonderful setting for her flash fiction in Feeding the Doves, and I found her writing a refreshing and unique collection.
Review first published as “Book Review: ‘Feeding the Doves,′ by Stella Pierides” on Blogcritics.org.
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