Epeolatry Book Review: Plumes: and Other Flights of Fancy Flash Fiction by Andrena Zawinski
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Plumes: and Other Flights of Fancy Flash Fiction, 70 pages
Author: Andrena Zawinski
Genre: Flash Fiction/Memoir/General Fiction
Publisher: Writing Knights Press
Release Date: January 31st, 2022
Synopsis: In her debut collection of stories, Andrena melds flash fiction with memoir. She entertains, peaks curiosity, even exacts revenge in characters enjoyable to come to know, whether through love or through hate, all cast on a smooth and well-crafted journey that invites the reader to return to its pages again and again.
This was my first time reading Zawinski’s work and I was struck by her rich descriptions and ability to transport the reader. The stories in this book blur the line between fiction and memoir. Each one is like a detailed photograph taken by an expert photographer. At a glance, they are pretty little vignettes, but after careful examination, each tale offers more the longer you spend with it.
Zawinski does not shy away from the darker aspects of life. “Woodstock” is about two young women who sneak away to that famous concert, but in between the music and the excitement, they have to deal with the men at the concert. “Midnight Radio” offers a chilling, but poignant, reminder how society often puts the onus on the victims, rather than the perpetrators, when the monstrous “Wilkinsburg Rapist” is let off on a technicality. Sexual assault, homophobia, misogyny, and racism are not ignored in Zawinski’s stories, but nothing is gratuitous or graphic. Rather, despite this darkness, her stories are often filled with hope and love.
The strength to persevere through adversity often comes from the kindness and support of others. In “Signs,” two women on a date face toxic masculinity at its worst, but find a new beginning with each other. Alegria, the protagonist of “Bella Mia,” after a lifetime of abuse and control from her parents, learns to stand up for herself with the support of her girlfriend. In “Lights Out,” two women are rescued from danger by the intervention of strangers.
This book is short, only 62 pages, but it is rich and full of life. One sitting will finish it, but the depth of the work will keep you re-reading long after.
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Melody lives in Ontario, Canada and writes short, dark fiction. She has been published in several anthologies and online publications. In university, she studied Ancient Greek and Roman Studies and often infuses her work with elements of Greek mythology. She also loves reading, embroidery, and martial arts.