Sabbath Night in the Church of the Piranha is far from Ed Falco’s first book, in fact it’s his third collection of short stories alone, to go along with a poetry chapbook, two standard novels, a hypertext novel, a collection of short fictions, and other assorted individually published works. So how does it fit in with his other work? If you've decided to check out his work based on anything that’s been written or podcasted here this week, does the rest of his work fit the descriptions you’ve seen?
At least so far as the standard fiction goes, it very nicely fits what you’ve seen this past week. Especially the short fiction, as Sabbath Night in the Church of the Piranha is a collection of New and Selected Stories, and the selections come from his past two collections – Plato at Scratch Daniel’s (University of Arkansas Press, 1990), and Acid (Notre Dame University Press, 1996).
Not that I’d go so far as to say that Falco has a specific formula, but many of his stories do approach similar themes and do so in similar ways. Maybe I actually am just trying to convince myself that his short fiction doesn’t follow a formula, but if I do allow myself to agree with any who would state such, I may come away from such an agreement with even more appreciation for his work. To be able to follow a formula over a dozen times within a single collection and have each work hold up both on its own, and within the collection is pretty damn impressive.
While there is frequently violence, or at a minimum disturbances, in Falco’s short fiction, it is rare that the violence is the focus of the story. The violence is not even always the impetus that moves his main character forward, instead it is frequently an underlying violence, or tucked away behind the actions of the main characters. It’s almost as if Falco is writing his stories while his local news report is on behind him, sneaking its way into his work.