Every once in a while, I’ve been foolish enough to pick up the latest collection of short stories, one of those books with an introduction by some Big Name in Fiction that promises to contain a treasury of brief delights, but virtually always proves to be filled with the same depressing krep that may as well be entitled “Tales from the Jaded.” Warped relationships, miserable people, nihilistic lives; the art of the short story, in recent years, seems to be more about the art of making the reader want to climb into a warm tub with a sharp razorblade.
I like a good short story; hell, I like a good gritty short story, full of angst and humanity. The emphasis being on the good part. I had despaired of finding much along those lines, in book form at least. Then just over a week ago, Sippican made an announcement.
Having received my copy, and read only a little, I can say with complete certainty that here indeed is the Art that I was missing. Sipp is as good a wordsmith as he is a carpenter – which is to say, he’s marvelous at both (a truth to which I can attest, being also the proud owner of one of his lovely step stools).
I don’t care if fiction is your thing. I don’t care if short stories are your thing (though if they are, rejoice! For here is a fount of riches). Hie thee forth and purchase a copy, post-haste. You will not regret it.
“Do you want something?” he asked.
Doesn’t sound like much, does it? In context, it is sublime.
Go. Buy. You can thank me later. Or better yet, thank Sipp. Then maybe he’ll write some more.
*Disclaimer, in case one is needed: The only thing I get from Sipp that I didn’t pay for is the immense pleasure of reading his blogs.