A New Orleans native, Wallfisch’s stories take place for the most part in Louisiana and neighboring states, touching on the region’s political climate, dialects, and history, offering a progressive take on a place where “Republican Roger” brings up Critical Race Theory to “Democratic Dave” by saying “I don’t know what the hell it is. But it’s gotta be bad.” (Dave’s response: “I don’t know what the hell it is, either, but I think it’s probably good.”) Though not every story is memorable, and some edge into caricature, the best of these glimpses into complex American life entertain and provoke with a welcome concision and some striking insights: a white couple seizes their guns when they hear Black protesters in the streets; criminal justice grad students aren’t quite prepared for their visit to a penitentiary; a husband’s rebuke of his wife's stacking of matzos lingers painfully in her heart.
Supplementing Wallfisch’s tone of pained levity are minimalist, line-work illustrations accompanying each chapter heading that relate some aspect of the coming story and add an engaging visual element. The author also includes an interactive social media component to “I Want to Be Alone,” in which characters come up with famous movie quotes to describe the human experience during COVID-19. The collection amuses most as a book to sample over time rather than rush through.
Takeaway: Ironic flash fiction using dark humor to make political, social commentary.
Comparable Titles: Kathy Fish; Tom Hazuka’s Flash Fiction Funny.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A