Notes on the Fiction Selections

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September 23, 2020 by The Citron Review

My children have started to speak in hopeful sentences like “when coronavirus goes away…” and “when it’s safe to travel…” or my favorite “when we are free from this jail called quarantine….” I try to remain positive with them. We have been healthy. We have come through these six months as a stronger family. We have made a list of positives: less traffic (in the beginning), time to learn new games, time with each other, and time to focus on house projects. But the hopefulness is waning. Instead of moving in a linear sense, time, at least in my house, ebbs and flows with our emotions.

Our fiction selections for this fall issue mirror this ebb and flow. The first selection begins with a moment of panic in “The Lock” by Lucy Peters. Within this brief piece, Peters unfolds a tale of a mother alone with anxiety and fear that will not budge, much like a faulty lock in her rental.

In “Sonder,” L. Soviero highlights a neighbor’s appreciation of mannequins, which allows a narrator to inquire their secret lives, mirroring the thoughts we sometimes project about strangers and the world. Soviero layers the descriptions of the mannequins’ revelry with deeper observations of humanity, which makes “Sonder” a timely piece for our year in communal separation and reflection.

Though there is tragedy in “It’s Superman” by James Harris, the story exudes the optimism of youth where anything is possible, even being a real superhero. Harris’ careful juxtaposition of painful childhood realities and a defy-all-odds belief system resonates. This is exactly the time to extend our imaginations, tie a cape around our necks, and take a leap of faith that the impossible might happen.

Rounding out our flash selections is “Found Objects” by Phoebe Jewell. Perhaps the most hopeful of four pieces, Jewell shows a narrator who slips notes of encouragement into YA books at the library. As someone who has been on the receiving end of such an unexpected gift within a book, the realism of the piece caught my attention. But what really made it stand out was the twist in who could be on that receiving end.

This fall’s selections are heartbreak coupled with shining light. We hope you can find exactly what you need, wherever you are in the ebb and flow of this time. Enjoy.

 

Elizabeth De Arcos
Senior Fiction Editor
The Citron Review

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