Jars and more jars you ought to read

Sheila Heti’s Mermaid in the Jar (printed here at the Short Story project) is maybe my favourite flash, and I have extensive notes in my book of flash fiction why that is:

  1. Right from the start, it’s fun. She really fucking hates this beautiful mermaid!
  2. Later it gets sad, and kind of empty-feeling, and any story which can make you laugh one moment and despair at your yawning abyss the next is a good story.
  3. The final line is a beautiful note to end on.
  4. Heti’s voice is perfect throughout. Informal, like a friend is speaking to me. The mermaid’s all, ‘I hate you I hate you I hate you,” – a voice like this is fun to ‘listen’ to at any time, but especially against the magic of a story about a mermaid in a jar.
  5. The story has a mermaid in.
  6. And a jar.

I’ve probably read this more than any other story. It’s exquisite.

*

Lucy Corin’s Miracles (printed here, at Tin House) also has a jar, but there the similarities end!!! Corin’s jar is filled with poisonous spider eggs, and there’s a real element of danger running through the whole story. At one point the newborn baby spiders are making their way to the airholes punched into the lid and the father sticks a stick in the airhole and lets the babies crawl up it. Don’t read this if you’re arachnophobic!!! 

Miracles also has an emptiness at its heart, and the way Corin uses it is just beautiful. A phenomenal ending to this piece.

*

*

*

*

*

*

*