Winner of the Twelfth Annual Rose Metal Press Short Short Chapbook Contest
With an introduction by contest judge Rigoberto González
A dazzling and incisive collection of twelve flash fictions illuminating the varied lives of women and girls, Nicole Rivas’ A Bright and Pleading Dagger immerses readers in its subjects’ complex experiences with desire, selfhood, and omnipresent danger. A pizza shop worker goes on a series of visceral dates with her gynecologist; a slighted lover coughs up a forgotten childhood toy; an artist unknowingly becomes the subject of an intrusive admirer’s lust; a woman has a heated staring contest with the world’s oldest man. Powerful and precise, Rivas’ stories highlight the unreality within the real, simultaneously evoking humor, outrage, and awe.
«With this marvelous collection of short stories, Rivas places her finger on that pressure point, where adventure and danger intersect, where fantasy and reality cross wires, and where desire ebbs and flows to the delight—or chagrin—of her female protagonists.
Each story, unpredictable and startling, leaves a lasting impression. […] For their thought-provoking denouements and skillful use of compression, the stories of Nicole Rivas beg comparisons to the celebrated stories of the surrealist painter Leonora Carrington. For their arresting strangeness, readers of Latin American literature will recall the stories of Clarice Lispector. But for their edginess and fearless wit, a more contemporary sister is Carmen Maria Machado. Yet Rivas will thrive on her own terms. A Bright and Pleading Dagger is truly a compelling and unforgettable journey into the dark but poignant experiences of women.»
Nicole Rivas is from Los Angeles and the Inland Empire. A Bright and Pleading Dagger is her first chapbook. Her fiction has appeared in Passages North, The Journal, The Adroit Journal, and elsewhere. She teaches writing at Georgia Southern University in Savannah. More information can be found at www.nicolemrivas.com.