In Pulitzer Prize winner Joy Williams’ flash fiction – Ninety-Nine Stories of God – the stories are so short, the impact takes a few seconds to reach – like the aftershocks of an earthquake. Listening to the book on Audible is a definite disadvantage; the next story begins before the last has been fully absorbed.
Short parables anchored with a one or two word morals at the end, the stories range from strange encounters to joyful incidents to somber lessons. Some are only one sentence:
“We were not interested the way we thought we would be interested.” The word after the story is “Museum.”
The Zen-like stories are not really about God (although he is omnipresent) but quick thoughts about everything, anything – maybe seeking some deep truth – but too fast to linger in your mind. No time to think about it -whatever it is – and maybe it doesn’t matter. As I walked along, I heard:
“There are certain times where it does not matter If you hear the word yes or the word no in answer to your question, whether you turn left or right, you will reach your destination.”
Did I like the book? Yes, it was a great companion, although I was tempted to rewind a few times while listening. If I really wanted to note the words of wisdom, I would read this in book form – but, I don’t. A quick flash was enough and satisfying.