Praise for Neil
J. Bradley’s flash fiction is incredible; his focus on the father-son relationship reveals layers rarely explored in fiction today. – Ilana Masad, The Other Stories
Neil is a story of what’s missing. A single father from a single father, tackling loss and grief without sentimentality, the learning curve without exposition, and love without clemency. The lines are clean and succinct, punchy yet subtle, and clear of unneeded commentary, as flash ought to be. Bradley understands the form as few others do and is a master at making every word count. – Leah Angstman, Editor-in-Chief, Alternating Current Press
Reading J. Bradley’s Neil is like getting to know the dysfunctional family across the street. It is all at once disarming and poetically honest in a brutal way that makes you say “woah” over and over again.” – Mallory Smart, Editor-in-Chief, Maudlin House
Neil is a Russian nesting doll of a chapbook. Though the three male characters (grandfather, father, and son) aren’t quite the same shape, they each fit inside the other with a fatalistic tension. With surprising vignettes and plain-spoken sentences, Bradley’s stories form an affirmation that “History repeats itself”, while simultaneously asking the question, “How long until it doesn’t?”. I think this chapbook contributes beautifully to the ever-shifting conversation about what makes quick fiction work: ellipsis, surprise, and a poetic control of language. – Tyler Barton, Fiction Editor, Third Point Press
J. Bradley is an expert at making a large explosion in a small space. In just a few words you feel the weight of family, the strangeness and awkwardness and struggle of simply living in this world, and a single heartbeat sounding out like a snare drum leading us all to a higher point of awareness. It’s nothing short of fantastic. -Sheldon Lee Compton, author of Where Alligators Sleep
Praise from Newark Academy Student Guest Staff for Neil
A young father struggles to escape the specter of his upbringing yet finds himself inevitably pulled towards it as he raises his own son. Raw and unflinching in its portrayal of parenthood, J. Bradley’s Neil paints a portrait of both tenderness and cruelty, taking the reader on an emotional journey that ends with an astonishing revelation.
When we think of fathers, words that come to mind include caring, protective, and strong. Neil, however, challenges that idea of a father who’s dependable and has your best interest in mind. Honest and retrospective, this collection of flash fiction examines the dark side of father-son dynamics and probes the existence of the paternal instinct. Following a father, scarred by his bitter relations with his own father and caught up in raising his son, these short stories will have you questioning what it means to be a parent.
Neil is a collection comprised of fifteen compelling flash fiction pieces from a father’s perspective. It jumps between the narrator’s past and present, highlighting his childhood experiences and their lasting impressions on his own parenthood. Through J. Bradley’s lyrical and cinematic style, Neil redefines “good” parenting and will perpetually push you to re-think the relationship you have with your parents or children.
About J. Bradley
J. Bradley is the author of the graphic poetry collection, The Bones of Us (YesYes Books, 2014) and the prose poem chapbook It Is A Wild Swing Of A Knife (Choose the Sword, 2015). He lives at iheartfailure.net.