• Hyper-compressions: The rise of flash fiction in “post-transitional” South Africa

      Blair, Peter; University of Chester (SAGE Publications, 2018-07-16)
      This article begins with a survey of flash fiction in “post-transitional” South Africa, which it relates to the nation’s post-apartheid canon of short stories and short-short stories, to the international rise of flash fiction and “sudden fiction”, and to the historical particularities of South Africa’s “post-transition”. It then undertakes close readings of three flash fictions republished in the article, each less than 450 words: Tony Eprile’s “The interpreter for the tribunal” (2007), which evokes the psychological and ethical complexities, and long-term ramifications, of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission; Michael Cawood Green’s “Music for a new society” (2008), a carjacking story that invokes discourses about violent crime and the “‘new’ South Africa”; and Stacy Hardy’s “Kisula” (2015), which maps the psychogeography of cross-racial sex and transnational identity-formation in an evolving urban environment. The article argues that these exemplary flashes are “hyper-compressions”, in that they compress and develop complex themes with a long literary history and a wide contemporary currency. It therefore contends that flash fiction of South Africa’s post-transition should be recognized as having literary-historical significance, not just as an inherently metonymic form that reflects, and alludes to, a broader literary culture, but as a genre in its own right.