Sky Is A Well reviewed
My first collection, The Sky Is A Well, just received a lovely review @ FlashFiction
beautiful review at Necessary Fiction
"But the real innovation in Quarry Light is the poise with which Smith transfers the pathos and haunting imagery of flash fiction into the longer forms; Smith’s collection is not merely a poignant object lesson in the inscrutability of human relationships, but a visionary example of how the lyrical eye of the flash form can renew, with sentiment and gravity alike, short fiction’s traditional forms."
interviewed @ FlashFiction
The Doctor T. J. Eckleburg Review
Tiffany Sumner writes about my flash fiction, "Window" in What Writers Can Learn From Claudia Smith Chen's "Window"
Blake Bergeron's tiny interview with me up @ Magic Helicopter
My friend Jennifer Pieroni's novella, Danceland, had just been released. The book draws from Stravinky's interpretation of the mythical Firebird. It is a beautiful book, and a fast read. Here is what I said about it:
“In her debut novella Danceland, Jennifer Pieroni has exquisitely captured an archaic loneliness we often associate with childhood. Danceland explores the blurred lines between the beauty of solitude and the deep ache of loneliness with grace and elegance. The emotional stuff of the book is powerful and lingering. It is a gorgeous accomplishment ”
—Claudia Smith, author of Quarry Light
Elizabeth Ellen's FAST MACHINE
Back when I had a blog, many moons ago, I used to talk about other people's books. I am going to start doing that again. Here is what I have to say on Goodreads about Elizabeth Ellen's FAST MACHINE.
I loved this book. I've been reading Elizabeth Ellen for years, but I was not prepared for scope of this collection. I can tell you my favorites - probably 1984 and Halfsies - but I read all these pieces interdependently, and the momentum they build is breathtaking. Really. I felt like the breath was knocked out of me when I had finished.
It's a sprawling book, and, structurally you would think it might not work. But it does. There are lengthy pieces that feel much like memoir, and there are short short pieces that can only be described as bites (as in someone biting into you), and long long stories. There are stories that take on an almost hallucinatory violence and there quieter pieces. Yet as a reader I had to connect them, and what I came away with when I had finished was the feeling of having known these characters, in dingy light, in daylight, poolside. Known them now and known their fat lonely sixteen year old selves.
Yet I would not call these coming of age stories, because time doesn't really feel linear in this collection. That comes, in part, from reading the pieces all together. There is the feeling that any one of her characters could slip again at any moment.
I also love the way Ellen writes stories set in the past - they capture the feel of the times, but I would not call them nostalgic. Her work has been called raw, vulnerable, fierce. It is all these things.
As long as this book is, I read it in just a few days. It's the kind of book you want to stay up all night reading.