Imagine you’ve just started reading a book by a new-to-you author, and you find you are absolutely captivated, even before you finish the first page. It’s a remarkable feeling. That was my experience while reading A Brief Moment of Weightlessness, yet I couldn’t help but think, “The rest of the book can’t possibly live up to this amazing start.” I thought for sure there’d be at least one story that wasn’t as brilliant as the others.
Somehow, Fish managed to create a collection that dazzles from start to finish. I loved every single story. There’s a level of depth present that is difficult to achieve in such a short format, but Fish shows finesse, mastery, and sensitivity.
“Where Do You Find a Turtle with no Legs?” is about the anxiety a sensitive, caring child experiences when visiting her dad in jail. Every emotion, every fear, every hope is impeccably conveyed.
In “The Sari,” an American exchange student experiences culture shock in India after her mother’s death. Fish intertwines equal amounts of fragility and strength in her main character, making this a profound vignette of the grieving process.
“Green Line” features an Iraqi war vet who is back home in the States, but struggling. His family has fallen apart. He is trying his best to function in normal, everyday life even though he shows signs of PTSD. It’s a heart-wrenching, candid story; that character stayed with me. Later in the book, I was excited to find that he was back in “The Last and Kindest Thing.”
There are eleven stories in all. What a stunning debut collection. Victoria Fish’s stories are beautiful, honest, and perfectly human. I’m looking forward to reading more of her work in the future.