State Liquor by Elizabeth Ellen

by Brian Lindenmuth

I was reading an end of year list the other day and Elizabeth Ellen’s collection, Fast Machine, caught my eye. I went to Amazon and was surprised to learn that it was a collection of pieces ranging from flash legnth to longer pieces with over 90 stories. That’s a lot. So I downloaded a sample.

The first story is State Liquor. It is a flash size story about a 26 year old girl and her new 18 year old husband buying booze.

This is very much a vignette as not mush happens but a lot is suggested. My impression of this story is that characters in need of a story were created. That this was a character sketch to be used in service of another story. I want to see these characters interact further with the world. But those things aren’t in this story.

Bottom line though is that I liked enough of what I saw to keep reading the sample.