AK Dawson’s Five Word Fiction delivers exactly what it promises – brief stories for busy people.
Legend has it that Hemingway once won a bet by crafting a complete story, just six words long: ‘For sale: Baby shoes. Never worn.’ Setting aside that bet really took place – and whether Hemingway actually wrote the story, the general concept spawned the genre of flash fiction and Smith Magazine’s six-word memoirs. But AK Dawson takes it one step further, attempting – and succeeding with – five word fiction.
Some are ambiguous: “His silence said it all.” “That was all he had.” Others, chillingly specific. “The family stopped eating together.” My favourite: “Desk lamp. Battery. Pliers. Detainee”.
The stories span a variety of genres: quotes, post-scripts, pickup lines, obituaries, and what runs through one’s head during a parachute failure (before one’s unfortunate demise). Yet they all tell (or hint at) a complete story, and although Dawson says they’re stories for ‘busy people’, don’t let the small word count fool you. Five Word Fiction is not a book for skimming, but for pondering. If you have only a minutes or even seconds to spare between tedious tasks, Five Word Fiction will give you enough brain food to keep you going for far longer than your eyes are on the page.
(review of free book)