Published by Mayapple Press on June 14, 2014
Source: I received a copy of this book from the publisher via TLC Book Tours for review consideration.
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A Brief Moment of Weightlessness is a collection of short stories that illuminate the beauty and extraordinariness of "ordinary" lives. Each explores the human desire for connectedness and grace. The stories range from large upheavals such as how a marriage shifts when a spouse loses a limb or how a girl reconfigures her world when her father goes to jail, to smaller moments such as when a woman experiences wonder again on a visit to a nursing home with her child and their dog, or when a man finds redemption in the midst of tragedy after being bitten by his dying dog. These illuminating, heartbreaking, poignant, astute stories take on serious issues of death/dying, injury, infidelity, aftermath of war, estrangement and more, but without a sense of gloom that could overwhelm them. They often, though not always, find that glimmer of hope or opportunity, and they are told in a voice that can cut to the quick of a character or conflict, with endings that don’t always resolve neatly. These stories explore, dissect and celebrate those small moments within the larger events that make all of our lives extraordinary.
Imagine you’ve just started reading a book by a new-to-you author, and you find you are absolutely captivated, even before you finish the first page. It’s a remarkable feeling. That was my experience while reading A Brief Moment of Weightlessness, yet I couldn’t help but think, “The rest of the book can’t possibly live up to this amazing start.” I thought for sure there’d be at least one story that wasn’t as brilliant as the others.
Somehow, Fish managed to create a collection that dazzles from start to finish. I loved every single story. There’s a level of depth present that is difficult to achieve in such a short format, but Fish shows finesse, mastery, and sensitivity.
“Where Do You Find a Turtle with no Legs?” is about the anxiety a sensitive, caring child experiences when visiting her dad in jail. Every emotion, every fear, every hope is impeccably conveyed.
In “The Sari,” an American exchange student experiences culture shock in India after her mother’s death. Fish intertwines equal amounts of fragility and strength in her main character, making this a profound vignette of the grieving process.
“Green Line” features an Iraqi war vet who is back home in the States, but struggling. His family has fallen apart. He is trying his best to function in normal, everyday life even though he shows signs of PTSD. It’s a heart-wrenching, candid story; that character stayed with me. Later in the book, I was excited to find that he was back in “The Last and Kindest Thing.”
There are eleven stories in all. What a stunning debut collection. Victoria Fish’s stories are beautiful, honest, and perfectly human. I’m looking forward to reading more of her work in the future.
I’m so excited that, thanks to the kind people at Mayapple Press and TLC Book Tours, I am able to offer one paperback copy of A Brief Moment of Weightlessness to one of my lucky readers. Enter below for your chance to win. This contest is open to any reader in the U.S. and Canada, and will run until 11:59 p.m. (Central Time) on September 30.