Debut author Hemingway dabbles with “drabbles” in this cleverly constructed collection. In a series of vignettes and sketches, Hemingway explores the unexpected in 100 stories called drabbles—a literary form that requires a precise, 100-word length. In them, the author tackles various aspects of the human condition, including love, sex, money, revenge, death, and ulcer-inducing stress—usually concluding in a bittersweet or unforeseen twist, hence the citrusy title. A jilted lover is saved from drowning in “At Summer’s End”; the body of a dearly departed person is late to his own funeral ceremony in “The Last Laugh”; and a displaced Chihuahua finds a new home in “When Mama’s Not Happy.” In “Sharing the Pain,” a mechanic seeks vengeance on a customer, and three sisters escape an abusive father in the first tale in a duology, “Legacy I: If Not for Their Mother’s Love.” More often than not, though, Hemingway expertly crafts her short stories with tidy endings that are reminiscent of a maraschino cherry in a well-shaken Manhattan. In “Educated Fingers,” for example, a wickedly fun turn of events leads a blind woman to discover that her husband is having an affair.
Recommended for short story readers who enjoy zinger endings.
A Twist of Lemon: 100 Curious Stories in Exactly 100 Words by Arlene Duane Hemingway is a cleverly written collection of complete tales. Too many to list here, each story has its own merit, ranging from comedic to tragic. This happened to be my first foray into micro fiction, and I was amazed at how quickly I fell into the flow of the stories, realizing that while some left me wondering, they were satisfying in their own short way. I did have a few particular favorites, including Conversation, which took place as two parents were honoring the memory of their son, and A Life on the Edge: Omega, where a man leaves his wife and she does something unexpected. I also found Sharing the Pain immensely satisfying as a man comes to an untimely end, aptly appropriate for his actions in life. Finally, I really loved Problem Solved as a little boy who has lost a tooth asks for help from the tooth fairy for a problem involving his grandfather.
With each short story, I was held breathless, often not expecting the ending. I laughed and I winced at times. This was certainly a unique collection. I immensely admire how the author was able to sustain 100-word stories, 100 times. This seems like it would be an insurmountable task, yet Hemingway manages it with creativity, expertly executing each story. A Twist of Lemon: 100 Curious Stories in Exactly 100 Words by Arlene Duane Hemingway isn’t your run of the mill collection, and it shouldn’t be taken as that when a reader picks it up. However, I can certainly promise, you will not be disappointed if you open your mind to something different. Absolutely brilliant.
“Arlene Hemingway’s drabbles, defined as short stories in exactly 100 words, are a delightful return to the classical short story outline of beginning, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution. I am amazed at how she is able to cram so much action into so few words. I find myself picking up this little book when I sit down to have my tea… I know any of them will please me. Today’s minimalist, who often sacrifices story for brevity should take note. These drabbles are capable of describing in miniature the complexity of life. You will be in awe at how clever these drabbles are.” – Anna P.
“What a fun little book this is! Arlene [does] what I call "dense" writing, that is to say: pack a lot of information into a very few words. If you think that's easy, just try it yourself. You will be humbled. Pick up a copy before the ones in stock are all gone; it would make a great gift!” – John W.
Unique Portrayal of Humanity
Always extraordinary, these unique vignettes provide us with all the ingredients of a fabulous story—interesting characters, riveting story lines, unexpected endings and more—all in only 100 words! Enjoy this book as you would any fine delicacy; take the time to savor it and reflect on any connections you can make in your own life. Get ready to be inspired and enlightened! – Ann D.
Fascinating- Don’t Miss It!
“Wonderful collection of short stories. Everything I had hoped for.” – Mildred M.
Short and Surprising
“Amazing what an author can accomplish in only 100 words. Filled with surprise twists that keep you wanting more. The stories are so varied—from heartbreaking to inspiring to just [plain] funny. Just what we need in these crazy times!” – Carol B.
Truly Delightful Twists-And Definitely NOT Sour!
“This witty collection is a MUST for microfiction aficionados. Like the lemon in the drink, each story has an unexpected twist that leaves the reader completely floored. These twists are unexpected happy endings, macabre tragic ones, and turns of fate that end up biting their victims—who in this book usually deserve it. These gems were like Lays Potato Chips; you can't read just one!” – Bibiana