3 out of 4 stars
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Illustrated Short Fiction of William H. Coles: 2000-2016 is a collection of the author’s creative pieces written over the first sixteen years of the twenty-first century. This anthology consists of thirty-three short stories, two short graphic novels and a novella.
I chose this book because I wanted to be inspired to write short stories, but instead, I was inspired to live life to the fullest. Coles has a knack for bringing every character to life. He cleverly uses brief character physical description, dialogues, and details of the characters emotions, thoughts, actions and motives to make them very relatable. I enjoyed most of the characters, including Catherine, a teenage mom raising a disabled child; Didi, a midget at a circus, who is infatuated with Lazlo, a trampolinist; Suchin, a Chinese girl victim to human sex-slaves traffickers; an Amish girl in a forbidden love with a perennial student; and Father Ryan, a catholic priest who may have been wrongfully accused for sexual misconduct.
Moreover, the author did an awesome job with all other aspects of the story. Every story had an intriguing setting and plot. For example, several stories involved a car ride, and I could easily envision these scenes. The plots mostly centred on themes such as family ties, betrayal and lies were abundant and at the same time, there was a sprinkle of humour and a dash of hope throughout the stories. I was glad that the collection in its entirety was free of grammatical and formatting errors.
Unfortunately, there were not as many illustrations as the title suggested. Every short story and the novella had one or two illustrations pertinent to the creative piece in question. However, most of the short stories were over twenty-pages long, so I was hoping to see more illustrations throughout the longer short-stories. As for the graphic novels, they were both illustrated by Peter Healy. Since they were both adaptations of two short stories that I had already read in the book, I could not help but compare the two versions. I preferred the short stories over the graphic novels, but this is a subjective opinion.
In conclusion, I rate this anthology 3 out of 4 stars. I would highly recommend it to all short-fiction lovers, and especially those who love character-driven stories. However, I did not give this book a perfect rating, because I believe that the title gives the misconception that there were going to be more illustrations throughout the book.
Illustrated Short Fiction of William H. Coles: 2000-2016
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