co-written with Meg Pokrass
Reviews & Commentary
Here in House of Grana Padano are deft and absorbing micro-tales, surreal, yet sparked with characters achingly universal in their quest for attainment: a man causes things he touches to disappear, a woman finds herself replaced by a moose, a captured crow has way too much to say, a woman lives in a house made of cheese… Here is an annealing of two major talents, and this is their illuminated manuscript of fabulistic tales with gold and lapis lazuli on every page, and yes, too, the grit and poetry of life.
—Robert Scotellaro, author of What Are the Chances? and Bad Motel
In the entrancing story “Searching for the Bearded Dragon” Danielle and the narrator frantically hunt for Sam, their bearded pet dragon who has gone missing. What to do? Then Danielle says, “Let’s just do what we normally do… It’ll be okay.” I imagine that is how this brilliant collaboration that resulted in House of Grana Padano worked its magic. Jeff Friedman’s wild and engaging images, the stuff of elegant and fabulist prose poetry, and Meg’s Pokrass’s brilliant and distinctive use of disjunction in line after line, story after story, merge here as these two brilliant writers “just do what they normally do.” But here they do it together.
—Pamela Painter, Fabrications
Jeff Friedman and Meg Pokrass prove that collaborations, in the hands of masters of short prose, can be revelatory. Like two seasoned jazz musicians, their imaginations play off each other, so that their tales–the astonishing and often quirky worlds and characters they create–avoid the randomness found in so many failed surrealistic prose poems and microfictions. You never know what’s coming next, but, somehow, it all makes sense.
—Peter Johnson, author of Old Man Howling at the Moon
When fiction, a naturally expansive genre, meets the micro form, constraint becomes the order of the day. The collaboration between two authors of microfiction might be compared to two poets writing a sonnet together. But in The House of Grana Padano, the collaboration between Meg Pokrass and Jeff Friedman blends rhythms and styles seamlessly. These two masters of the microfiction form generate a dialectic that plays within the rigorous requirements of their chosen genre.
—Celia Bland, 100-Word Story (full review)