Shellie Zacharia lives
in Gainesviile, Florida. Her stories have appeared in Hobart, Opium,
Keyhole, The Pinch, Washington Square, Canteen, SmokeLong Quarterly,
Juked, and elsewhere.
with Shellie Zacharia
"When Suzy had her breakdown, she left her
fiancÚ in the backyard tossing rye grass seed."
Reviewed by Michelle Reale
Zacharia’s fiction has a lot of "flash". They are packed full
of bright, shiny and vivid detail. One of the hallmarks of
Zacharia’s writing is her ability to hook you with the first
sentence. This fact may seem like creative writing rule number one,
but there is way too much fiction that meanders so much at the
beginning the reader may give up before giving the story a chance.
will often drop the reader right into the scene, but amazingly, it
never feels disorienting. For instance, the story Request for
"I’m not sure why it’s necessary to fill
this form when at some places customer satisfaction is of the utmost
"In the fourth
Fowler got hit in the head with a baseball bat out on the PE field."
is my absolute favorite:
kids in Mrs. Ortega’s
grade class are making figurative language foldables when Lizzie
Sharpe opens a pair of scissors in front of her face and announces
‘I’m going to cut off my nose.’"
stuff, especially when
the next line is "And she does."
worlds that Zacharia
creates are believably unbelievable in that there is the precise
balance between often uproarious detail and authentic human response.
Not all of the stories in Zacharia’s first collection are short
,short flash, though none are very long. One of the longest is the
title story, beginning in what I , after reading so many of
Zacharia’s stories over the years, consider to be her inimitable
and wholly satisfying style:
let me say this: I do
hate Jonathan Green anymore."
follows is a rambling, funny
rant by the unnamed narrator, a seemingly na´ve woman (a vegan!) who
lives simply and works as theater critic for a local newspaper ,who
attempts to review her ex-boyfriends new play Green Chronicles:
Disco Time at the Electric Quilt Factory. The piece is both
entertaining and poignant, as Zacharia weaves her bombastic details
into a narrative that is both sad and funny in the end.
the success of short fiction lies in the ability to tell a complete
story in detail using half (or less) words than a short story of
conventional length. Zacharia gets it. She hooks us, she
entertains us, she wordpaints with a palette of colors we can "see"
and "taste" and never tricks us with the ending. And I don’t
know how she does it. I want to follow Shellie Zacharia around for a
day. I want to see the car she drives, I want to eat what she eats,
and I want to talk with her about how she does what she does. Because I
really want to understand how a mind than can write a story
titled Luckily, Lucy Sims Has No
Stamps, that begins with "Dear
Bed Bath and Beyond" works. I guess I can try and figure it out,
but in the end , I just want to read Shellie stories and enjoy.