One of the best books I’ve read in a long time, The Weight of a Feather and Other Stories is a gripping and haunting collection of short stories. It will send you spinning but never, not once, will you be lost or confused. Croome is a master storyteller, seamlessly transitioning from one story to the next, from one perspective to the next without ever disorienting her readers. With each story comes a breath of fresh air, a new beginning. Both vast and varied, she covers the realms of mythology, fantasy, realism, and so many more. Even though different perspectives are employed—male, female, young, old, animal—as a reader, you’re never confused moving from one text to the other.
One can almost (but not quite) judge a collection based on its first short story. Was it captivating? Was there substance? Did it make you want to delve deeper? Yes. Yes! YES! How quickly Croome is able to suck you into the lives of these characters and the places they dwell is not only an art form she’s perfected, but a gift. Judy Croome is a talented writer who has honed her skills to the point of perfection. In the first story, as in all the ones that follow, everything is revealed in time, never before it needs to be. There is something profoundly lugubrious yet intriguing that the protagonist—an eight-year-old girl—has two best friends who are animals on her parents' farm. The lesson a child is forced to learn at such a tender age (and on her birthday no less) is something I’m sure every reader will carry with them for years to come.
Much like poetry, short and flash fiction are restricted because of the need to be concise and compact. This is accomplished flawlessly with the progression of each story from the very title to the very end. Titles like “Born Beneath a Balsamic Moon,” both alliterative and compelling delivers quite the poetic punch. “Heroes Day,” is action packed and driven, an exhilarating read from beginning to end.
Dialogue, utilized sparingly in short pieces, is something Croome does not shy away from in her work. Some stories are dialogue driven and extremely well done. Through voice, characters are captured succinctly without ever interrupting the flow of the narrative. This is just another vehicle for her to deliver crucial information to the reader.
With incredible momentum, engaging dialogue, vivid imagery, and above all, powerful character, this collection is a recipe for success. Readers and writers alike will benefit from adding this compilation to their bookshelves.