Tag Archives: Flash Fiction

Laura van den Berg’s “There Will Be No More Good Nights Without Good Nights”

Laura van den Berg's "There Will Be No More Good Nights Without Good Nights"“There will be no more good nights without good nights.”

This titular phrase in Laura van den Berg’s brief and beautiful collection of short stories thoughtfully toes a line between prophecy and command, resolution and insistence. Balancing on that line, the book is laid bare: van den Berg’s pieces are always pushing on an elastic wall between observer and observed – flexible in distance but absolute in scope – and the characters all seem to beg, if not for that disconnect to be removed, then at least to find their place in it. There Will Be No More Good Nights Without Bad Nights has the lovely ability to leave you satisfied by its sadness; at least surrendering to it affords the most honest version of ourselves.

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I can’t decide if this actually is the last weekend for beautiful New England foliage. I feel like I should spend my weekend really appreciating it, taking long walks, and noting how much more beautiful—how much more rich—the landscape is out here than in my hometown of Machesney Park, Illinois. But I can’t seem to pull myself away from David Foster Wallace’s The Pale Kingwhich is, itself, slow going, but only because it’s DFW-dense and of course thrown together—not haphazardly, there’s clearly some things I’m sure Michael Pietsch wanted to fuse together better or pitch all together—in a way that makes the reading experience more of a challenge.

I’m finding it to be a pleasant read, if not a little creepy, given that one of the characters—the “irrelevant” “wastoid” (but never together) Chris Fogle, of the “wastoid” novella in chapter 22—went to my elementary school—Machesney Elementary—and is from that un-rich, un-beautifully landscaped hometown and (almost) shares an odd mental tic, that being his ability to count the words on a page/in conversation, mine being the ability to count the letters in a word on a page/in conversation.

I feel a bit like Harold Crick, to be honest. Continue reading

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