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Oh Baby: Flash Fictions and Prose Poetry

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The book is a wonderful debut collection of prose poems and flash fictions, short short stories of beautiful precisions and understated passions. While the bricks with which Chinquee constructs her fictions - failed or failing relationships, childhood friendships, and the intricacies of family life - are not uncommon, the architecture she creates with them is rare indeed: The book is a wonderful debut collection of prose poems and flash fictions, short short stories of beautiful precisions and understated passions. While the bricks with which Chinquee constructs her fictions - failed or failing relationships, childhood friendships, and the intricacies of family life - are not uncommon, the architecture she creates with them is rare indeed: stories now full of light, now somber, now opening the reader's eyes to an utterly new space.


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The book is a wonderful debut collection of prose poems and flash fictions, short short stories of beautiful precisions and understated passions. While the bricks with which Chinquee constructs her fictions - failed or failing relationships, childhood friendships, and the intricacies of family life - are not uncommon, the architecture she creates with them is rare indeed: The book is a wonderful debut collection of prose poems and flash fictions, short short stories of beautiful precisions and understated passions. While the bricks with which Chinquee constructs her fictions - failed or failing relationships, childhood friendships, and the intricacies of family life - are not uncommon, the architecture she creates with them is rare indeed: stories now full of light, now somber, now opening the reader's eyes to an utterly new space.

30 review for Oh Baby: Flash Fictions and Prose Poetry

  1. 5 out of 5

    Myfanwy

    Be prepared: Oh Baby, Kim Chinquee's debut collection, will knock you on your ass. It's a book about love: mother for child; child for mother, for father; man for woman; woman for man and man and man. Love for running. Love for vodka. It's a book about women: a runner, an artist, a nurse, a mother, a girlfriend, a wife, a daughter, a friend. A drawer of blood. A woman who lives in England, in the midwest, in some nameless place. A woman. But mostly, it's a book about identity in which the author Be prepared: Oh Baby, Kim Chinquee's debut collection, will knock you on your ass. It's a book about love: mother for child; child for mother, for father; man for woman; woman for man and man and man. Love for running. Love for vodka. It's a book about women: a runner, an artist, a nurse, a mother, a girlfriend, a wife, a daughter, a friend. A drawer of blood. A woman who lives in England, in the midwest, in some nameless place. A woman. But mostly, it's a book about identity in which the author constantly scrutinizes these women to find out which one is the one. In "Purple" she asks: "Me, who was I?" and then never answers the question. And then in "Wig" she talks of buying a wig and says: "When I got back to the hotel, I put it on and thought I looked like Kim Chinquee." And this is what we're all looking for: that time and place where we most feel like ourselves. When we are no longer pretending and donning our wigs. Do we ever find it? Taken seperately, these stories will hurt you; taken together as one in this collection, they will clobber you and rob you of your breath. Read it.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Beverly

    Oh Baby is certainly a strange little book. It's taken me awhile to read it because my tiny mind couldn't quite 'get with the program' in the beginning. This is ostensibly a book of flash fiction and prose poems. But it is like no other that I've read. Minimalism is the name of the game, but there is an underlying 'voice' that is so full of tremors and unbridled pathos that it is almost painful to read the terse, carefully sculpted wordage of Oh Baby's offerings. And exciting too, because it Oh Baby is certainly a strange little book. It's taken me awhile to read it because my tiny mind couldn't quite 'get with the program' in the beginning. This is ostensibly a book of flash fiction and prose poems. But it is like no other that I've read. Minimalism is the name of the game, but there is an underlying 'voice' that is so full of tremors and unbridled pathos that it is almost painful to read the terse, carefully sculpted wordage of Oh Baby's offerings. And exciting too, because it always surprises. Chinquee makes us leap from subject to subject, feeling to feeling, without bridges, without a net. It is an act of faith to do so, and one that ultimately makes the reader feel like a huge chasm of abstract thought, raw emotion, and a very sophisticated mind has been explored. I don't know how else to put it. I have had an experience unlike any other, and I was glad of it. I would not call this 'easy' reading in the sense of your traditional short fiction, but it is certainly not difficult reading either unless, like me, your own preconceived expectations get in the way of letting go and leaping without fear. Once I did still my own mind and opened it for whatever might walk in, I was rewarded with a new, fresh and completely authentic creative journey in a style that is her own. I came away thinking about it, and am still doing so. ##

  3. 5 out of 5

    Pia

    You won't believe how much plot, trouble, feeling, wit and bite Kim Chinquee can fit into such small pieces of real estate. I think she's Pure-D brilliant and these short pieces are her territory. Her work's been in every issue of NOON and scattered through a hundred lit mags, so to sit and read a book of these gems is a gift. Wrenching. Visceral. My stomach dropped in some of them. So I read them again. Bravo to Ravenna Press Books for publishing her.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Rusty

    This is a first-rate collection of flash and prose poems. No one uses fewer words to imply more. These stories will stick in your craw.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Randall

    Amazing, the power that Ms. Chinquee packs into these condensed pieces. A major talent, for sure. Her genius lies in her ability to find both profound meaning and haunting emotion in so few words. I've read her work in a number of journals, including QUICK FICION and Diane Williams's NOON, and have always been blown away by her work. What a pleasue it is to see her work collected. Oh Baby.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jeff

    Darkly funny, odd, heartbreaking, (very) short, and perfectly detailed--read Kim Chinquee's work and enter a hundred different worlds with the best kind of tour guide: the kind that doesn't miss what goes on in the shadows of the world. You can read her book in one sitting, and that's good, because you'll want to read it again and again.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Claudia

    Kim Chinquee is one of the writers who first got me interested in writing short-shorts. These stories cut right into space; Chinquee's sentences are precise and intimate. There's an undertow to these pieces, a feeling of significance to each image and every word. They are beautiful marbles that read as planets. Just don't miss this book if you are interested in flash fiction.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Kevin Fanning

    One of the blurbs on the back of this book really stuck in my head while I read this. It likens Kim's work to a sculpture by Giacometti-- pared down until only the essentials remain. My experience with this book was entirely the opposite. It seems like an easy comparison to make, given that her stories are so short. But to me her work isn't about peeling things away, it's more impressionistic, pointillistic even. Yes the stories are short, but she focuses on a variety of details and emotions in One of the blurbs on the back of this book really stuck in my head while I read this. It likens Kim's work to a sculpture by Giacometti-- pared down until only the essentials remain. My experience with this book was entirely the opposite. It seems like an easy comparison to make, given that her stories are so short. But to me her work isn't about peeling things away, it's more impressionistic, pointillistic even. Yes the stories are short, but she focuses on a variety of details and emotions in each, the result of which is that you (I) come away from each story not with a sense of specific moment or feeling (if we did I think we'd be more firmly in the realm of poetry), but more of a glimpse into a whole, complicated life. One of the other blurbs on the back expresses wonder that Kim can pack so much into such short pieces, and that I would agree with 100%. In some cases it was almost too much for me, the elements too wide-ranging and disparate for me to know what to take from them without seeing more of the larger picture. In one sense a book like this is so far off the reservation it's no wonder I've spent so much time over last few weeks turning it over in my head. Where Kim is working, there is no map. Which is great, I like and admire that. But on the other hand, I began to wonder towards the end of the book if what I was wrestling with wasn't its very essence as a book. Back in the old days of the internet, and I'm thinking specifically of diaryland now, the pre-greymatter era, my favorite websites were all anonymous journals, written by women and girls who gave very vague and shrouded accounts of their lives. In other words they read very much like the stories in this book. What they were writing really held meaning only for each author herself, but they offered strange, quirky and nuanced little peeks into unknown lives. I loved it. There isn't enough of that on the internet these days, where everyone has an about page and an agenda. So I guess what I'm saying is that as a book, reading one story after another in quick succession, I found the work fairly successful, moderately enjoyable. But if this was a website, and I didn't have the author's picture and bio handy, and one of these stories was sent to my feed reader every day, and I was bereft of the knowledge of the authorial voice at work, than we would basically be talking about an instant favorite website of all time. But it's not an anonymous website, it's a book, and Kim is an author. And so I'd be very interested in hearing Kim talk about her writing process, maybe seeing some earlier drafts of stories, with details about what she decided to take out or add. She's doing very singular work, and (clearly) I'm trying to wrestle with it, so that would be fascinating to me. For what it's worth, I can't think of any authors about whom I'm curious in that way.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Ben

    A collection of flash fiction and prose poems that seem to fall somewhere between shotgun blasts and song.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Greg Gerke

    Kim stories are often no longer than a page or two but contain incrediblely precise insights into the human condition. She speaks of hopes, regrets, lost loves, child’s play. A wonderful book.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Kathy

    Absolutely stunning work!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Doug Martin

    A MUST read. The prose butters through each splendid story!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Kevin

    This was my fist reading of any flash fiction. It was a great read.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Cooper Renner

    It was my pleasure to serve as Kim's editor for this marvelous book, which exhibits how a gifted author can make the fewest words go the farthest.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Pamela

    terrific examples of that difficult genre, the short-short story. Some especially wonderful stories are "Oh Baby," "Kin," "Wishbook," "Laughing Gas," and "Viral"... but there are many others!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Heather

    Great voice! Succinct gems!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Isabelle

    A friend of mine recently recommended Kim Chinquee's books, and I love her style of writing. Her stories are intense and leave you stunned by their endings and brevity. She is a master at the short-short story. Highly recommended and looking forward to her new one!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Steven

    Just re-read these flash fictions and was struck again how haiku-like these pieces are. Imagine a thirty line haiku and that is a Kim Chinquee flash fiction. The other thing I noticed was how many of the pieces ended on lines that would make a great first sentence. It's over and you are off on your own. You know, take that.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Robert Vaughan

    On first read I thought, so what? Then as I read the second time, I slowed down. Ingested each page, each flash fiction piece. Now I think she is a master. Check out her website at Elimae, online fiction, prose and poetry. Chinquee is the flash fiction editor.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Kate Hill

    Can't wait for this one!!!!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Avital

    Beautiful, tight, moving, a unique Kim's language of life translation.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Kevin

    Really great flash fiction collection. Kim's stuff is mysterious and weird and disjointed. Fans of Noon and Diane Williams should have this.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Timothy

    She wrote an unbelievable book of storis in few words. He finished it over a wait at an airport. He was happy when the plane came in.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Peter

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jim

  26. 5 out of 5

    Julie Gengo

  27. 5 out of 5

    Carrie

  28. 5 out of 5

    Tim Jones-Yelvington

  29. 5 out of 5

    Dave Newman

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jasmine

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