Binding: Trade paper
Author: Peg Alford Pursell
Publication date: September 8, 2017
First edition ELJ Publications, March 2017
2017 Foreword INDIES Book of the Year in Literary Fiction
2018 Eric Hoffer Award Honorable Mention
Finalist for the 2018 First Horizons Award
In this striking debut of flash fiction and hybrid prose, with its vivid characters and piercing situations, nothing is too insignificant for Pursell's imagination—a wren on a branch, a hole in a sock, ginger tea—and nothing too dangerous—a girl hit by a stone, a mother and daughter struggling, a lip plump with blood. Intense insights are captured in superb concentrations of prose, with lyricism and flashes of brilliant detail applied to the small wonders of the world. In a matter of a few words, a few lines resonant as in the way of music, Pursell transports us. This dazzling collection of narratives, with its precise beauty and unsparing wisdom, is a fiercely sacred book, immense in its gifts, with a long, shimmering after-effect. First published by ELJ Editions in March 2017, the first edition of Show Her a Flower, A Bird, A Shadow sold out in July 2017.
Praise for Show Her a Flower, A Bird, A Shadow
What intense bits of insight these are—dramas, both painful and lyrical, are captured in these superb concentrations of prose, with their flashes of brilliant detail. An original book, with a long, shimmering after-effect.
What a pleasure to read Show Her A Flower, A Bird, A Shadow. In story after story Peg Alford Pursell creates vivid characters and piercing situations. Nothing is too small for her imagination—a wren on a branch, a hole in a sock, ginger tea—and nothing too dangerous—a girl hit by a stone, a mother and daughter struggling. In a matter of a few words, a few lines, Pursell transports us into vivid situations of loss and longing. This is a dazzling and lovely collection.
I've always firmly believed that the amount of words a story contains has zero to do with how much weight the story carries. Peg Alford Pursell's new book, Show Her A Flower, A Bird, A Shadow, proves this once again, and proves it in spades. Read "Circle" or "A Lot to Learn" or "The Girl in the Picture" or "My Descent"—and many more—and you'll see what I mean. These stories are like gut checks to the soul.
A gorgeous parade of narratives where every sentence is an insight, and every paragraph a mosaic that turns broken shards of language into poetry. I read Show Her the way you read in a dream, the way you see that flickering in the corner of your eye which means you're haunted. Highly recommended.
—Glen David Gold
To call this volume "slim" would be a mistake. It is rich in the way of poetry—lyric intensity applied to the small wonders of the world—and resonant in the way of music, summoning again and again the mysterious visceral response from its reader. Many of these sentences ("I wished it would rain, to quench something," for instance) are running repeatedly through my mind, like noteworthy and unforgettable songs.
With precise beauty and unsparing wisdom, Peg Alford Pursell shows us “Anything can happen: anytime.” The dead resurrect in fragments of memory, kindness is necessary courage, lives dissolve, reshape, renew, and another’s hand will imprint on us its lesson in brokenness or its blessing of love as we fly into and out of the cages of our temporal selves. Show Her a Flower, A Bird, A Shadow is a small but fiercely sacred book, immense in its gifts.
Peg Alford Pursell writes beautifully and evocatively about both the world around us and the one within. Her prose is spare, her observations keen, her heart fully on display. Show her a Flower, A Bird, A Shadow is striking debut from a great new writer.
Reading this book is like walking through a snowfall of petals—and thorns. There is a light airy feeling to Peg Alford Pursell's delicately worded fragments that is seductive, at first, until you realize that each swirl contains small stabs of loss and pain and violence. A really beautiful, unique collection.
Reviews and interviews
Sonya Chung Q & A @ Bloom
Show Her a Flower, A Bird, A Shadow
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