Reading the short stories of Kristin Fouquet, writer and photographer par excellence, is like eating bon bons. You just have to have one more. Fouquet writes with a photographer's eye for detail, seeing beneath the surface of her characters into their inner lives. Her stories are at once charming and macabre, and like the city of New Orleans herself, sultry, sensual, and occasionally violent. Her gallery of characters is Chekovian. They are lonely figures whose simple exteriors belie the anguish of their souls. They wait, often in vain, for years for the connection that will assuage their loneliness.
Kristin Fouquet lives and creates in the city novelist David Lummis calls "the Paris of the South:" New Orleans. She has published two collections of short stories, Twenty Stories (2009) and Rampart & Toulouse (2011), and her photographs have illustrated the covers of numerous works of fiction and been displayed in various galleries across New Orleans.
Fouquet's most recent publication Rampart & Toulouse also showcases four of Fouquet's stunning photographs. Fouquet's first collection featured twenty short stories, one scarcely a page long. However, her second collection includes three short stories and her first novella (and the title of the collection) "Rampart & Toulouse."
I had the pleasure of meeting Fouquet this spring in the garden of River House during the Faubourg Marigny Artists-in-Residence Tour of Homes. She presented me with a copy of Twenty Stories, and I became an immediate fan and a forever friend.
Fouquet was born on the day Jimi Hendrix died, and by her own admission, she had "no luck with the electric guitar" and so became a writer and photographer. She is a native and resident of New Orleans, a city " where the inspired feel sultry and the rest just feel sweaty".
Reviewers have called Fouquet's stories examples of "elegant minimalisim," "quirky, melancholy, and even unsettling," David Lummis, author of The Coffee Shop Chronicles of New Orleans, writes the following about Fouquet and her most recent book: "As one of the new literary voices emerging in post Katrina New Orleans, Fouquet captures in each of these stories the sense of longing and isolation (in some cases bordering on desperation) that drapes the city, as well as the hopefulness that springs eternal. The heady undercurrents of New Orleans swirl, and it's not always certain the protagonists will prevail. Yet in Fouquet's crisp but tender language, they do. They are survivors, optimists--even at the cost of self-delusion or, as in "Paris Is the Pretty One" (my favorite), mental illness."
A. M. Garner, author of Undeniable Truths says "Kristin Fouquet is not only a fine flash fiction writer but superb photographer. Kristin's photograph of a street musician is on the cover of Undeniable Truths. I could not have dreamt a better photo for the cover. " Both Garner's and Fouquet's short story collections are published by Rank Stranger Press.
In addition to being a writer, a photographer, a wife, and a mother, Kristin also designs and sells exquisite hats. If you visit Kristin online at her virtual home Le Salon, you can browse through her photo gallery and see her millinery designs as well as order her books. By clicking on "cinema" at Le Salon you can watch short videos of Kristin reading from her stories. The videos are usually illustrated by her photographs. Under "cinema" you can also see and hear poet/novelist/editor Carter Monroe reading his poem entitled "Riff on a Phototgraph by Kristin Fouquet." Carter Monroe, a friend of Kristin's, is the editor of Rank Stranger Press.
Fouquet currently has two photographs "Moonlight" and "On Keys" displayed in the recently opened "NOIR" NOPA (New Orleans Photography Alliance) exhibit, and she is also showing in Push Pin at the Home Space Gallery. You may order her books, Twenty Stories and Rampart & Toulouse by clicking on "bookstore" at Le Salon.
-----Penne J. Laubenthal
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