2019 Novella-in-Flash Award (highly commended) Bath Flash Fiction Award
Available at Ad Hoc Fiction
Check out my Bath Flash Fiction Award Interview
Kind praise for Straight Down the Road:
Dan Crawley’s novella-in-flash, Straight Down the Road, is a stellar read, a captivating debut by a talented writer. He has used the flash fiction form masterfully in this book. It consists of seventeen flash fiction pieces that tell the story of a family’s travel during a crisis.
The book contains so much more than the words in each chapter, revealing flawed characters and their relationships, strained, yet loving, complex, yet simple.
There are pieces the reader will think about well after the book is read, chapters like “Powers” and “Your Real Family.”
I look forward to reading more fiction from Dan Crawley. I enjoyed the book and highly recommend it.
~ Sudha Balagopal, author of A New Dawn
Straight Down the Road is a wonderful Novella in flash. The bite size stories tell of a family descent into a crisis as the father quits his job at the beginning of their holiday.
In a beautifully economical style, that says exactly the right amount and lives plenty for the reader to ponder, Dan Crawley describes the slumping of the road trip into a quest for the next meal, the next place to stay.
The family’s brood is composed of 5 kids, 4 girls and a boy,who is the youngest. Though the stories are told from an external reteller, they seem to be told from the young boy’s point of view, even though he’s the one we know the last about, no age or name, we just catch glimpses of a little boy that wants to bond with his dad, gets easily distracted and wants to eat Sundaes.
As the family trip goes on, less and less fun is had, and more and more drama is slowly injected into the stories. Realistic, warm and chaotic drama, showing the family’s flaws, the parents regrets and shattered dreams, the children boredom, their different ways of finding a place and a purpose within the large family.
Straight Down the Road shows how children can be set aside when a crisis arise, the growing distraction of the parents, the mounting lack of patience. The parents forget about their kids, but the kids don’t forget about their parents – or this situation overriding their lives – until they do.
~ B.F. Jones, author of The Fabric of Tombstones
This is a great novel-in-flash about a family road trip. What unfolds is a portrait of flawed individuals on a journey to places you won’t find on any map.
~ Jan Stinchcomb, author of The Kelping
This debut “novella in flash” by Dan Crawley is magnificent. Each flash fiction piece and vignette advances the story of a family in crisis. The basic situation involves the father’s employment issues, but we see the situation from everyone’s perspective, showing that there is really so much more going on than just this.
I thought about these characters for days and weeks after reading it. A stunning debut! I look forward to reading more work by this wonderful new writer.
~ Raima Larter, author of Belle O’ the Waters
The stories in this collection by Dan Crawley fit together like beautiful puzzle pieces to create a portrait of a broken family on the world’s worst road trip: a father dragging his wife and children into his dreams; a mother wishing for her own kind of freedom; their children, trapped in their parents’ narrative, wanting to create their own. Each piece is its own story, powerful in its own right, but together they create a beautiful, heartbreaking whole.
~ Cathy Ulrich, author of Ghosts of You
As if it were some rediscovered Raymond Carver manuscript, this is a classic novella-in-flash in the mainstream American tradition. A working class family try to keep themselves afloat, travelling the country by car after the father quits his job. The writing is warmly affectionate towards the characters even though they’re flawed. There’s an appealing, breezy, summery quality even though real tension bubbles up – it feels like an authentic family dynamic. Some bond of grudging love is keeping this family together, even though they’re stretched to breaking point. Each flash has the clarity of a distinct memory – like each one might be a family legend. A vivid and highly effective novella-in-flash.
~ Michael Loveday, author of Three Men on the Edge
I admire the agility and surprise, the ferocity of this book’s verbal sleights of hand, Straight Down the Road is so wonderfully inventive, and emotionally precise. Crawley’s stories contain speaker’s voices that don’t suppress, voices and conflicts that brim with verve, rueful humor, and a new topography between head and heart. This is a writer who pressures language and transforms into improvisational, masterfully controlled, and yet fragile constructions. An intensely gripping collection.
~ Robert Vaughan, author of Funhouse, EIC of Bending Genres
This novella-in-flash chronicles a joyful family road trip that quickly gives way to instability and uncertainty. Unmoored, and with an increasingly threadbare safety net beneath them, a couple and their gaggle of kids have no choice but to keep moving. Told with exquisite attention to detail, and an eye for all that is peculiar, arresting, and emblematic of America in the 70s, Dan Crawley’s Straight Down the Road is a gorgeous and unforgettable debut.
~ Kathy Fish, author of Wild Life: Collected Works