Thursday, February 23, 2017

Review: Rain Check by Levi Andrew Noe

Genre: Short Story Collection/Flash Fiction


Just shy of 60 short stories, most of them falling under the category of flash fiction (short, short stories).


Levi Andrew Noe is a native of Denver, a frequent traveler, and a yoga teacher. Noe combined two of his interests, story-telling and yoga, to come up with the Tall Tales Yoga program he founded.

For more, visit Noe's website.


The stories in this collection are arranged into three sections. The first, “On Time and Place,” is followed by “On Relations” and “On Mind, Body, Heart and Soul.” Most (maybe all, depending on your working definition) of these stories fall under the category of flash fiction – short, short stories, sometimes only a hundred words. In theory it could be even less although I believe these stories were all about that length or longer.

Flash fiction often requires more of the reader, making them fill in the gaps with their imaginings. For example, the words “For Sale, Baby Shoes, Never Worn” have been attributed (probably incorrectly) to Hemingway, as the legend goes it was his response to a challenge to write the shortest story possible. That story requires you to fill in some gaps, but has everything you might expect in a story including one or more characters (we could imply a baby and someone, possibly a parent selling the shoes), some conflict (why were the shoes never worn?), and a setting implied. There is a plot, even if largely implied as well as a theme (maybe something about the fickleness of life). Google “elements of a story” and you'll find numerous places listing these five elements and an explanation of each.

All of the above is background to understand my one complaint with the collection, or at least a portion of it. (Yeah, I know, I need to learn to use less words, too.) My problem is that some of the stories in the first section (“On Time and Place”) didn't feel like there was a story there. I'm a fan of travel memoirs and in many instances the “stories” I'm talking about seem like a snippet from something like that. These have an evocative setting, a character in whoever is describing it, but I couldn't see the story. The note I made after several of these were the stories “were all spice, with no meat.”

I only had that issue in the first of the three sections and not even with all the stories in that section. Although I liked some stories better than others I found the stories much more compelling as I got deeper into the collection. All the elements were there or I did a better job at filling in the gaps, I'm not sure which.

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Format/Typo Issues:

No significant issues

Rating: **** Four Stars

Reviewed by: BigAl

Approximate word count: 25-30,000 words

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