Saturday, January 10, 2015

Academe and Athlete: An Excellent Collection

I "met" Larry LaForge on the Carrot Ranch website, where he must trim one word of his 100-word flash fiction stories to meet Charli Mills' 99-word parameter. I had enjoyed reading his submissions for the Carrot Ranch weekly challenge, so when I got the word that he had released a collection for the Kindle, I bought a copy.

I thought I might be able to get around to reading it in March, maybe. Then I opened it to sample, and found reading this collection was like eating salted nuts, or Lays Potato Chips. You don't eat just one; likewise you don't read just one of these gems. I made the mistake of opening it to read when I laid down in bed. I couldn't put it down until I had finished!

These are not rough gems; each is polished to a gleaming finish. Larry's contention that 100 words is just right may be a justification, but certainly I can't see where one more word would make any of these tales more readable, or more evocative.

The whole collection provides glimpses from an observant life at college, in which the souls of athletes and their professors are painted with sympathy and intimate knowledge, and with 100-word economy.

After you finish the salted nuts, LaForge provides dessert: a longer short story that left me wishing there were more stories yet to read. I will be looking forward to more snacks from his pen.