This is a collection of flash fiction, divided into two parts. For a reason that I am not yet able to name, I connected with the pieces in the second half most deeply. As I progressed through the book, I was thinking that the pieces in the first half of the book were shorter, more like scenes, more like what I consider prose poems, and that the pieces in the second half were longer, not just scenes, scenes involving characters, more like flash fiction. But then on my second read through the book, I realized I was wrong, and there are pieces in the first half just as long as pieces in the second half. So I don't know, I guess! In the shorter pieces I felt sometimes that there wasn't quite enough for me to latch on to, whereas with the longer pieces, not only did I latch, they grabbed on to me, they clung to me, they would not let me go. And that's part of what's so amazing about Kathy's prowess as a writer. Because when I say "longer piece" we're talking about a page, maybe one and a half. Her ability to drop you into a fully-formed world, with characters who are struggling, characters who are losing their struggles, characters you want to cheer for, encourage, linger with after the story is over. Absolutely mind-boggling. This book is full of stories that will just kill you.
A recommendation: do what I did and read the stories aloud, to yourself. The sentences Kathy writes really need to be heard and listened to, sung. There's a rhythm and lyricism happening here that is pretty stunning.
I really especially enjoyed:
* Watermelon ("You left anyway, hitchhiked all the way to Houston,")
* Cancer Arm ("He asks why you're late. And you say 'phone call from an old friend,' and he says, 'bullshit,' plucking a hair off your sweater and you say, 'you're right! Please pass the buns.'")
* The People Here Are So Hardy and Cheerful ("His airplane sits like an invalid at the gate. He hunches over, not wanting to shout, but Sandy's still saying his name.")
* Spin ("In the other room, the fax machine started beeping, sending work. She used to be a geologist, but now she did proofreading from home. The boy clapped his hands over his ears and cried.")
* Tenderoni ("He pats my head and he's never patted my head before.")
Kathy's got another book coming out soon and I cannot cannot wait. I will be super upset if she doesn't do a book tour.