Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Review: 100 by 100 by M. L. Kennedy

Genre: Flash Fiction/Short Story Collection


100 by 100 is a collection of 100 stories that are each 100 words long. Mathematically, that makes each worth 1/10 of a picture. Some of these 0.1 pictures are scary, some are funny, some are funny and scary, while others are just odd.”


M.L. Kennedy was born in Buffalo, New York, land of chicken wings, kimmelweck rolls, and Super Bowl disappointment. Currently he lives in Chicago, land of thick pizza, Italian Beef and rebuilding years. 100 by 100 is his third book, following his debut novella The Mosquito Song and his short story collection Thanksgiving for Werewolves and Other Monstrous Tales.

No, he doesn’t think that was a silly thing to call a book.

(Yes he does.)”


In the book description as well as in the introduction to this collection author M.L. Kennedy riffs off the saying “a picture is worth a thousand words” to explain that each of these 100 word stories are one tenth of a picture. It's a clever comparison because it helps drive home how difficult it is to tell a good and complete story in so few words. Yet Kennedy does it again and again. Whole pictures even.

For those who haven't read much flash fiction (extremely short stories, usually no more than a few hundred words) especially the shortest of these (100 word stories, often referred to as drabbles) you'll find that the best short fiction authors can paint a whole picture with just a few words. Like a good songwriter, the best flash fiction authors can say a lot with few words, often by letting the reader fill in the gaps without realizing that's happening, to end up with the complete picture.

A few of Kennedy's stories had me scratching my head, not sure of the point. But most of them were just the opposite, getting a laugh or a knowing nod of the head. Many times he even managed to set me up by going one way and then deftly adding a twist at the end that I never saw coming, making a good story even better. If you're a flash fiction fan or interested in giving it a try this collection is a good choice.

Buy now from:    Amazon US    Amazon UK

Format/Typo Issues:

No significant issues

Rating: ***** Five Stars

Reviewed by: BigAl

Approximate word count: 10-11,000 words


DED said...

Yeah, I had a similar reaction. I typically have a tough time with flash fiction, but Kennedy seemed to get it right.

BooksAndPals said...

Thanks for the comment, DED. I like what you said about using something like this as a palate cleanser between books. I'd never thought of it in those terms, but know between longer novels I often like to throw in something short between like you discussed.