We Can’t Help It If We’re From Florida, New Stories from a Sinking Peninsula, edited by Shane Hinton, Burrow Press, 2017 by Jennifer Fliss

Burrow Press has curated a collection as weird, wacky, and diverse as that southern spongey mass of terrain and people… in a good way.

Humor like the humidity often weights the words – fiction, essays, and poetry, most of which are quite short and straight to the point: Come into our Fun House. You might want to stay a while or run for your life. 

Beneath all that, under the heavy heat of the humor, down near the ground is hope – compressed but present. That hope cavorts with a menagerie unique to Florida: alligators, manatees, amoebas, retirees, snakes, beloved and/or loathed family. All the while the vultures circle overhead, the sun shines, and the oceans roils and creates life.

Everything can be volatile, if you allow it. Also, everything can mean “home.” The work in this anthology all say this: be a wrangler. Hold on tight if you want to stay. And if you stay, you’ll be rewarded by the magical and peculiar carnival that is Florida. Jeff Parker’s contribution, Major Disassociation on Crescent Lake is the perfect example of this.

This anthology holds magic realism that’s almost indecipherable from realism – as is often the case with Florida.

It’s honest in that way. Weird. Enjoyable. Voices you’ve read like Florida greats, Kristen Arnett and Sarah Gerard. Some you haven’t. Recommend.

 

Jennifer Fliss’s fiction and essays have appeared in PANK, Hobart, The Rumpus, and elsewhere. She can be found on Twitter at @writesforlife or via her website, www.jenniferflisscreative.com.

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