THE JOKES is a book of very happy and very sad one-page stories. They have an air of menace, like someone just got shot in the next room and everyone's still in shock and no one has yet asked what that sound was.
It is available to order here.
Review by Cassandra A. Baim for Queen Mob’s Teahouse
Review: Angus MacCaull for The Town Crier: "Literature Without A Face: A Review Of Stephen Thomas’ The Jokes"
Buried In Print "In My Bookbag" review: "They are simply stories, told without names, but in such a way that readers realize the people do have names."
Review: New collections from Diane Williams and Stephen Thomas show the power of flash fiction by Pasha Malla for The Globe & Mail: "The Jokes invokes those seemingly banal experiences that unexpectedly suggest realms beyond our understanding."
First Fiction Fridays: The Jokes by Stephen Thomas: "In a deceptively calm tone, the stories’ narrators (narrator?) march implacably into the most whisper-desperate corners of our lives, boiling over in some stories into frantic howls and, in other stories, landing squarely on images of quiet keening beauty."
Puritan Authors Interview with Fawn Parker on the Town Crier: "I didn’t think I was really allowed to write fiction like that, though, so I called what I was doing “jokes,” not stories, to trick myself into being allowed to write this way."
In Conversation: Stephen Thomas Discusses The Jokes: "I now see that the formalist project allowed me a way into aspects of my life and feelings I wouldn’t have been able to access otherwise, kind of like how people talk about using hallucinogens for therapy."
Rainbow Scontayo 1-minute mini-doc and blogpost: "There Ain’t One Gosh Darn Part You Can’t Tweet": "For me, fiction is getting modified by this collective internet writing thing where everyone is more connected."
The Lucky Seven Interview, With Stephen Thomas: "The idea of it being a ‘joke’ that I would write about serious things became a tool I used to get into territory I otherwise would have felt too self-conscious to explore."
Something Totally New: Part One Of Stephen Thomas In Conversation with Jess Taylor: "Sometimes they reminded me of short fiction by Lydia Davis, or pieces of poetry, zen meditations, fables or even little prayers."
Telling A Story That Works: Part Two Of Stephen Thomas In Conversation with Jess Taylor: "I guess I got really into the idea of a short story as a machine every piece of which is connected to every other piece."