A to Z Flashes of Foxwick
by Cherie Reich
A Book Review
C. Neuroticus Absolutus
I don't believe it's too much of a stretch to imagine Cherie Reich as a child, under the covers after lights out, a flashlight trained on Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland and her mind completely involved in the conversation between Alice and the Mad Hatter. Or that Ms. Reich still occasionally slips into another dimension where she enjoys a rich life in the otherworlds of her imagination.
The idea for A to Z Flashes of Foxwick is the result of Arlee Bird's Blogger Challenge where bloggers were challenged to write succeeding blogs featuring the alphabet letter of the day posted on the contest blog. Ms. Reich accepted the challenge and wrote 26 blogs using each letter of the alphabet in a series of flash-fiction stories about the Kingdom of Foxwick, its inhabitants and its neighboring lands.
The literary journey takes readers through Foxwick and neighboring Wintermill, Valedale, Shadowland, Lochhollow and Blackden Barrens, which Mrs. Reich introduces under the letter B:
“Sparse grasses swayed like a metronome. Stunted trees, blackened from fire's fury, poked from the ground. A lizard crept over the rocks and scurried into a crevasse as the phoenix glided over Blackden Barrens. . .” Poetic prose.
It's a time when fiction and reality blend into a dimension of illusions. Words melt in your mind and sentences flow into a mesmerizing sea of dreams as Ms. Reich opens the door to her world of fantasy. Hers is a world populated with dragons, fire birds, kings and queens, and ebony unicorns with silvery horns. Creatures move from her mind to the page with a childlike beauty and simplicity that ask for yet another telling of the stories. I read them twice from cover to cover.
Ms. Reich's flash-fiction stories follow each other like a lustrous string of pearls until they are finally woven into the storybook that brings the vision of Foxwick to the reader's mind. The twenty-six flash-fiction stories are followed by Lady Death, a bonus short story from Ms. Reich's book The Women of Foxwick. The short story ties characters from A to Z Flashes of Foxwick to a duel to the death between lady sword-fighting assassin Umbria and Lady Death. Way cool!
Beyond the enjoyment of Ms. Reich's world, the book also taught me that a flash-fiction piece of exactly 100 words is called a drabble. Just wait until I play Scrabble again!
I can't imagine a young reader who wouldn't enjoy A to Z Flashes of Foxwick. A dragon eating a sheep might be too much for little tykes, so I might not read the stories to them. But, with the exception of one or two words actually common in today's media, I recommend letting young readers discover the magic and charming world of Foxwick for themselves. The eBook edition is available at Amazon.com, Barnesandnoble.com, Sony and other eBook distributors.
The stories of Ms. Reich bring a dimension to flash-fiction storytelling that will surely be enjoyed by many generations to come. A fun read. Five stars and two thumbs up!
By the way, have you ever had a book get into your head and under your cliched skin? Here's what A to Z Flashes of Foxwick did to me poetically:
Dribbles and drabbles.
Quibbles and quabbles.
What fun doth Cherie bring!
A unicorn, a dragon
Whose tail is that waggin'?
Ye olde land of the king and queen.
Beware, Princess faire
Of one Shadowland lair.
The sword of Death is keen.