This week I read the last of what I consider true short stories in Tom Franklin’s collection entitled Poachers. The final story in the book is more of a novella so I’m going to post about that on it’s own and not on a Short Story Monday post.

Instinct and Alaska by Tom Franklin
Part of the Collection Poachers
Published: 1999

Instinct is probably the most directly dark and evil stories I’ve read from Tom Franklin. Told in short flashbacks beginning five years in the past and moving forward to the present it spirals into an ending that is a surprise, yet totally expected.

Alaska once again features the narrator of Triathlon and A Tiny History with his best friend Bruce. The two are still in search of their dreams of travel and adventure. In a series of imagined vignettes the narrator plans their journey toward the goal of Alaska. The lure of possibilities keeps the dream alive.

Both of these are very short but richly told stories. As is typical of Franklin, much is told in the spaces between paragraphs. I love the way he lets me fill in the story myself between the parts he tells.

This collection has its share of dark and in the case of Instinct rather disturbing stories but the way they are told is so full of atmosphere, emotion and imagery that they’re still completely satisfying and in many cases simply stunning.

As I said the final story in this collection is more of a novella length (60 pages) so I’ll be posting about that in a regular blog post and on the lookout for something different for next week’s Short Story Monday.

Short Story Mondays is hosted by John at The Book Mine Set.