One thing I loved about the fiction section within the anthology was the authors’ abilities to address characteristically human emotions and predicaments with such varied styles and structures. Ray Gonzalez’s dreamlike, stream of consciousness pieces serve as extremes on this spectrum, versus the more "traditionally" organized short stories; Gonzalez favors a composition emphasizing a brevity of scenes, lack of formalized structure and scheme, and repeated use of subject-verb-predicate sentences. This in turn creates a sense of urgency for the reader that engages the reader and allows him to momentarily overlook the implausibility of the events taking place: We must find out what happens to the komodo dragon!
Sherman Alexie’s "Assimilation" was particularly captivating in its astute anecdotes and character quirks that—for me—make the story easy to relate to. Bearing witness to the thought processes of the characters—like Mary Lynn’s conclusion that her infidelity is a "political act"—allows us to relate to them through our shared human experience and characteristics, and reminds us that we are all subject to vices and imperfections. There is no threat of over-explanation in the story: relevant details flow together without superfluous information that might be "boring." Another tool that makes the piece particularly interesting is the author’s use of in-the-moment revelations and thoughts of the characters that punctuate the narrative (On page 9, for instance, "his secret: He was still in love with a white woman from high school he hadn’t seen in decades."). This structure reflects genuine human thought processes, which tend to be spontaneous, sporadic, and seemingly random.
"Nelson’s Run" by Peter Bacho is another intriguingly constructed short story. Using the juxtaposition of two superficially unrelated prologues as a narrative structure requires an intimate story-reader relationship, in that it stimulates deeper thought and analysis on the part of the reader. Trying to understand the reason that the author includes both prologues requires reflection and retrospection on the deeper meaning and themes of the gestalt piece. This method of writing permits contradictions and nuances in social belief to emerge from the characters’ interactions. For example, the reverence of women and maternity within some cultures—shown in the scholarly presentation of Dr. Bulaklak—is immediately debunked as a contrary treatment of women is revealed through the story of Nelson’s Daddy, and the subsequent maturation of Nelson.