4 out of 4 stars
Share This Review
Illustrated Short Fiction by William H. Coles is a collection of 36 short stories, each one more interesting than the other. The author puts his characters in extremely difficult situations, and manages to immortalize a special, yet shocking moment in their lives.
I noticed the fact that William H. Coles likes to explore relatively dark themes. His protagonists are not necessarily a part of the high society, and more often than not, they are troubled in many specific ways. From mutilated children to sudden deaths, there is a multitude of human experiences presented in his short stories.
I loved noticing the diversity of characters presented in the book. No matter how lonely, or special you might think you are, William H. Coles manages to make everyone feel included. I believe the main goal the author set was to prove that nothing is impossible: life is rough, and many unimaginable things are constantly happening to us. His characters, no matter how unique and deranged, show the rough reality of life. The tragedies presented can be considered even funny, in some certain instances throughout the book. The macabre sense of humor the author has can certainly be admired.
My favorite story was, coincidentally, the very first one, that opens up Coles’ universe to us. I loved seeing how kindness can win, even against all odds. Catherine’s love for her daughter prevails, and she is a veritable role model to anyone that has been through a similar experience.
There are many colorful illustrations throughout the book, just as the title suggests. The artists managed to capture the essence of the stories perfectly, and I found myself trying to guess what a story might be about from its title, and its illustration.
Many subtle lessons can be learned from each of the stories if the reader is open to finding them between the lines. l do not think William H. Coles intended to write moral short stories, but in his weird, twisted narrations, he managed to do just that. I fell in love with many of the characters, Margaret’s son, Ben, being one of them. His nativity is truly heartwarming, and the way he looked up to the clouds, and said “I love you” brought tears to my eyes.
The book is very well-edited. I do not believe it is suitable for a young audience, given the shocking macabre content, and the occasional erotic inclusions.
Strangely, William H. Coles’ stories remind me of Kafka’s “The Trial”, and his well-known “Metamorphosis”. If you are intrigued by these kinds of interesting, twisted, short stories, this book is definitely for you.
I rate Illustrated Short Fiction by William H. Coles 4 out of 4 stars because I appreciated the effort, work, and imagination that went into creating these stories. The author doesn’t hold back, and he presents a new world, full of colorful characters to its readers.
Illustrated Short Fiction of William H. Coles: 2000-2016
View: on Bookshelves | on Amazon | on iTunes | on Smashwords