Short Fiction Collection

Fiction - Anthology
115 Pages
Reviewed on 05/02/2023
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Sheila Bitts, MFA is the author of Roses (poetry, 2018), the collection of short stories, Worth (2022), the novel, The Diamond Escape (2017), and its screenplay (2020). Her new novel, Entanglement (2022), is the second book in the Falloy Private Detective Series. These are noir mystery thrillers.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Pikasho Deka for Readers' Favorite

Treat yourself to a riveting anthology of flash fiction and literary short stories with Worth: Short Fiction Collection by Sheila Mae Bitts. The book contains a diverse selection of stories covering a wide range of styles and genres, exploring the human condition in its various forms. A jewelry store salesman goes to great lengths to woo the love of his life, only to end up as the subject of her attention in the most unexpected of ways. A master gardener's psychosomatic eccentricities bring out an apprentice's inner fears and anxieties, who re-evaluates her love life. A flat earther's attempts to prove his theory to an investigative journalist are overshadowed by the unexpected arrival of the president, who reveals his true identity. A waiter struggles to keep a low profile and remain unnoticed under the scrutiny of the Nazi regime.

Sheila Mae Bitts uses a swirling mix of genres and styles to craft an enthralling anthology of short stories. Worth is a study of the human condition through the lens of magical realism, post-modernism, absurdism, and a plethora of other literary elements. There is a surreal quality to her tales and you can't help but immerse yourself in the pages. Bitts displays an extraordinary ability to create almost dreamlike scenarios and ambiance in a few pages. Most of the stories feel as if there is a lot more going on than what is presented on the surface, and it adds layers to the tales and enhances your reading experience. A fantastic collection for literary fiction aficionados.

Courtnee Turner Hoyle

Worth: Short Fiction Collection is an anthology of short stories by Sheila Mae Bitts. After the author supplies adequate trigger warnings, she launches into tales that form short stories, pieces that strongly resemble re-imagined Shakespearean plays, literary works, and micro-fiction. While some of the stories are realistic, others are noticeably fictional, and magical realism plays a part in more than one of them. Some of the pieces have an Alfred Hitchcock-like feel, and the theme of human value is evident throughout the book.

Sheila Mae Bitts certainly knows how to set her readers up for a wild ride. Horror and suspense are present in some of the works, making them mysterious and intriguing, and even the more straightforward narratives require the reader to dig beneath the surface. The plot is easily discerned in some of the works, while other stories seem to intertwine. The protagonists are realistic, but not all of them are likable. The unpleasant characters seem to learn their lesson, and their actions are true to their personalities. Dialects and other languages are included and dealt with appropriately. The stories are broken down into easily digestible segments, benefiting those who like to become immersed in a tale for the limited time they have available. Readers with an open mind will enjoy Worth, especially if they’re willing to fully absorb the content. Those with only moments to spend but lots of time to think about the material they’ve read will like these concise stories.

Amy Raines

Worth: Short Fiction Collection by Sheila Mae Bitts is an anthology that takes you through an array of experiences such as irony, suspense, nostalgia, sadness, love, and life. These include the story of a man who is shocked next to the fish he is supposed to count. Was it an accident or a suicide attempt? Another tale involves men who work high up on a scaffold, falling to what may or may not be their deaths. A young boy is hit by a car. Who is to blame for such a tragic event? A man named Waldo chases conspiracy theories. Then there is the story of Tom Thumb, the smallest child in a chocolate factory, who is worried that he wouldn’t make it to the ball because he was swallowed by Old Betsy the cow.

Worth by Sheila Mae Bitts includes several short stories featuring a wide variety of unusual and relatable characters. One of my favorites was Homing, the story of Henry Line who works with the EPA and battles grief while missing his wife. I also enjoyed Proof!, the story of Waldo, a man obsessed with conspiracy theories who is motivated to get the truth published. I recommend this book because each title suggests a plot that will keep the reader engrossed and anticipating how it will end. The mix of such diverse emotions makes this collection a nice addition to the libraries of those that love short fiction and anthologies. I hope to see more work by Bitts in the future.

Maria Victoria Beltran

Worth: Short Fiction Collection by Sheila Mae Bitts is a fascinating read. The anthology consists of twenty-two stories that explore human nature with all its complexities. It opens with Out of the Frying Pan and Into the Fire about moral dilemmas that should move you to examine your values. What follows is a wide range of stories that draw inspiration from literary influences like Post-Modernism, Realism, Imaginative Fiction, and French Experimentalists. On the other hand, Othello On the Lido and Othello: The Raw Interview From Prison are intriguing Shakespeare revisionists play scenes. The last story in the anthology, The Monster, is a heart-wrenching narrative about a woman afflicted with a genetic syndrome who is put on display and made fun of.

Sheila Mae Bitts’ Worth is a thought-provoking collection of literary fiction. It is a must-read for those looking for a stimulating and challenging read. Her voice mastery and ability to use an impressive range of styles shine through. Bitts utilizes different narrative techniques and parodies of various literary styles and genres in her stories. Much like the literary style of James Joyce, Bitts also employs wordplay to create stories with complicated tapestries of meaning. The characters, although complex and multidimensional, are highly authentic and relatable. Reading her stories can be challenging because we have to probe the complexities of the narratives. Worth is a thought-provoking read that requires our attention, and ultimately, it is a rewarding read.