Fashioned from headlines and found objects over the past three centuries (including the future), this collection of 14 flash fiction pieces explores the intersection of death and spectacle, truth and fiction, private loss and public entertainment. A boy burns in Paris, a Bavarian princess swallows a grand glass piano, Mitt Romney tours Disneyland, Indian school girls exact vengeance through their primers, teenagers piece together a suicide, an assistant makes a grotesque death mask in a hotel room in 1958— and more.
Winner of the 2013 New Delta Review Chapbook contest.
Stories from this collection have appeared in these journals.
Although “Morbid Curiosities” is bookended by the 19th and 21st Centuries, the collection exhibits the best of 20th Century playfulness in form — beginning in Stein-like exuberance for the stuff of language and finishing in Barthleme-like wonder amid banality. What I glean most of all here is that while many of us live lives of intentional or unintentional irony, it is death that best “enfold[s] the layers of irony” we’ve lived. As at the end of the story “Mrs. Williamson Winds the Watch,” we view death “surprised” and something to “back away” from, but also we often find ourselves “smiling” to endure morbidity: “giddy as a girl carrying the sun in her pocket, poised on the brink of radiance.”— Mark Yakich, Judge, New Delta Review Chapbook Contest
The book was also named a finalist in the 2013 Black River Chapbook Contest from Black Lawrence Press.