“Are we bad people who sometimes do good things, or good people who do bad things?” As society struggles to reconcile the uncovering of past wrongs with simple human frailty, punishment and personal redemption, the stories in Without Expiration challenge us to consider the humanity of characters who are flawed and heartbroken and who do and suffer terrible things Works from Without Expiration have been published in some of America’s best short fiction journals From the tale of a devastated father hunting his daughter’s killer to that of a couple forced to confront the disintegration of their marriage anew each time the wife awakes from a persistent vegetative state, the short fictions in this anthology seek to obliterate any sense of righteous indignation and to question how any of us can make it unscathed through a life where our every mistake is without expiration “Hincy doesn’t hold your hand while he tells you a story—he leads you to the darkest hour, the deepest secret, the saddest truth, and leaves you holding the consequences While one story is funny and filled with ludicrousbutadorable characters, the next is stark, real, and unsettling You may need a moment to recuperate between stories, but it’s well worth it This is short story telling at its finest” — Connie Kuntz, editor The Rockford Review “Deft, poignant, and unflinching, this collection takes the short story form and turns it insideout like yesterday's lost sock Not to be missed” — Charles Hood, winner of the Kenneth Patchen Prize for Experimental Fiction “In Without Expiration, William Hincy wields keen mastery of a dazzling variety of narrative styles and voices Many of the stories in this collection are deeply poignant, with a recurring theme of loss, while others are told with a primal irreverence, exploring the substance of what is human and humane Running throughout the range of short fiction in this volume are a love of language, a wry humor, and startling insights from an emerging author you need to know” — Michael Craft, author of Inside Dumont: A Novel in Stories and fourteen other novels “An exciting new voice in literary fiction The stories in Without Expiration expertly walk the line between humor, social satire, and genuine human emotion” — Adam Cushman, author of Cut “William R Hincy's short stories produce what Edgar Allan Poe described as a lasting ‘singular effect,’ which is the greatest gift a writer can deliver to the intelligent reader Hincy’s stories reveal the wisdom, versatility, and human understanding of an author the world needs Bravo!” — TD Johnston, winner of the International Book Award for Friday Afternoon and Other Stories Uncomfortable, unsettling and often unresolved, I believe these stories are best dipped into over a period of time It would be too intense to gobble up this collection in one or two sittings If I had to use another ‘u’ word it would be understandable, but I’d have to put a question mark after it as a number of the stories had me completely flummoxed I found that I was often searching for meaning andthan once I came up empty handed The offerings vary in length and style, with some of the shortest stories ending before I’d settled into the flow of them These were forgettable but others did engage me.My favourites are all about relationships where tension is the dominant theme: A longterm marriage in which the wife is constantly annoyed by the fact that her husband never washes the dishes A scientist whose estranged and dying wife awakes every few years to torment him afresh A son desperate for his father’s love but constantly disappointed by his disregard.Overall it’s a mixed bag, as many collections are I found myself one minute admiring how the author had drawn me in to a situation and the next finding that a piece had completely passed me by It’s possible I’d gainby working through the stories again, but in truth I’m not drawn to do that.My thanks to the author and NetGalley for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I don't know. the tagline is: “Are we bad people who sometimes do good things, or good people who do bad things?”I don't really think what I read mirrors that sentence Maybe I was just expecting something grittier, something darker,of a psychological study of the human mind Perhaps some of the stories simply went over my head Like I said, I don't know Still though , I really enjoyed the writing style and the stories Somethan others, but that's just the way of a short story collection Full review to come William R Hincy’s Without Expiration is one of the most unusual short story anthologies that I’ve read in a while The twelve stories, many of which have previously been published in literary reviews, share a common theme Are good people capable of doing things as bad as those done by bad people on a regular basis? And what about bad people – are they capable of on occasion producing the kind good deed that would make good people proud? And most importantly (at least to me), is if the answer to both questions is yes, just how big a difference is there, really, between “bad” people and “good” people (excluding, of course, the psychopaths among us) Only the great scorekeeper in the sky can answer that one.As almost always happens in any short story collection that I read, a few favorite stories loudly made themselves known to me In the case of Without Expiration, there are four of them: “Left to Soak,” “Friendly Stranger,” “A Study in Discontinuity,” and “Flying.” “Left to Soak” is the story of a couple that has made it through fortyfour years of marriage despite the husband literally not washing or drying a single dish the entire time Even while hospitalized, all the wife can think of is the sink full of dirty dishes that inevitably awaits her attention when she gets home What I love most about this one is the incredible amount of tension that builds right up to the moment that Helen gets her first glimpse of the kitchen sink Has Hank actually cleaned up after himself in her absence – or not?“Friendly Stranger” is one of those stories with a narrator I can identify with from the very first sentence (most of us living in big cities will probably see at least a little of ourselves in this guy) when he says, “…my sole goal in life is to avoid waiting at a red light forthan one rotation.” Setting a weird series of events in motion, one day a jerk in a blue Infiniti cuts our friendly stranger off just as it looks like he will be the last guy to make it through the red light The jerk does make it through, but friendly stranger doesn’t And what happens next, catches both men – and me – by surprise.“A Study in Discontinuity” and “Flying” are very different stories, but I am hardpressed to determine which are the good and which are the bad people in either story In the first, a woman comes out of a coma every so often only to remind her husband of his sins against her, sins that are ancient history to him but still fresh memories for her The second is about a father and son whose relationship would be described as “strained,” at best Whose fault that is, is open to question.Bottom Line: Without Expiration is a compilation of wild short stories that range from pure comedy to pure tragedy There is even one that I read twice (because it is so entertaining) without ever figuring out exactly what the author was aiming for I figure that’s the one that the back of the book describes as “absurd.” Has to be.
- Kindle Edition
- 111 pages
- Without Expiration
- William R. Hincy
- 06 June 2017 William R. Hincy