Publication Date

Spring 2015

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)


English and Comparative Literature


Nicholas Taylor


Literary Minimalism, Short Story

Subject Areas

Modern literature; American literature


Beasts of Flight is a set of thirteen short stories connected by themes of personal impotence and the dysfunction of sexual relationships.

Some stories are bizarre. The title piece, “Beasts of Flight,” explores systemic hatred and fear through the eyes of a talking parrot. In “I Should Exit My Home When the Costume Party Causes Paralysis of the Brain,” the host of a Halloween party is frozen by the mask of one of his guests. “The Joytime Killbox” details a city’s obsession with staring down the the barrel of a loaded gun. Crossing into sacrilege, “The Book of Smote,” is a subversive take on Old Testament storytelling.

Other stories display the inherent strife of relationships using piercings, airplanes, a couple’s movie night, and an impromptu lunch at a fast food restaurant. “My Roberta,” “Rough Air,” “Walking Dogs,” and “Cheri,” all focus on sexual conflict and marital breakdown.

The stories “Fallen Timbers,” “USS Flagg,” and “What to Say ff Anything to a Child in the Speedway Bathroom” examines the unexpected repercussions of doing a good deed. While “Homecoming” and “Coetzee Comes to Dinner” illustrate that even the best families have their problems.