Our Literature Development Officer has often extolled the virtues of short form fiction and during a summer filled with commutes, when it is necessary to reach into one’s bag and retrieve an escape for the hullabaloo of the south west’s many, many holiday visitors that appreciation has not dulled. Here she tells us why the new Flash Fiction collection All That Is Between Us by Bristol base K.M. Elkes is a top summer pick…

One of the many things that I love about the short form is the ability of a single piece of fiction, perhaps one or two lines, perhaps a page or two to capture a moment, to record it in its instantaneous nature to preserve it on the page, no embellishment, no meandering, lengthy exposition just the moment raw and there. It reminds me that as humans every moment of our lives, every interaction, every thought we have in one single day has the potential to become one of what seems to be an infinite number of stories.

I’m no mathematician, but if every single person on the planet told even one of these stories, imagine the almost never ending chain of stories we could achieve. It would be a complete and unashamed celebration of words – the ones we choose to tell our stories and that thought is one which is truly exciting.

So that’s what I was thinking about as I took All That is Between Us by  K.M. Elkes on my commute with me each morning last month. I was thinking of the words we use to tell our stories and how they in turn tell the story of us. Each and every word that makes up the pieces of flash here have been carefully considered, chosen to express the complicated web of moments, memories and people that make up life as a human being. Arranged into three categories: ‘Children and Families, ‘Couples and Lovers’ and ‘Friends and Strangers’, Elkes’ work takes us through every major moment in our lives: from significant births to deaths and the seemingly insignificant moments that make up lifetimes together – standing in hotel room remembering for example as in ‘Manhattan, 2 a.m’  – or the shock waves of the choices we make as in ‘Should Have, Would Have Could Have.’

In the astounding brevity of the prose here and the resulting intricately drawn intense character portraits contained within this collection, Elkes has presented the reader life – as it should be, as it could be and as it is. It is an overwhelmingly human collection which places the focus on the role we have in our own lives and in each intimate vignette what is demonstrated is that we are not alone, we are together and life is All That Is Between Us.

A thoroughly recommended read for summertime… for anytime.

All That is Between Us is available now, published by AdHoc Fiction.