4 out of 4 stars
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The Guy What Killed Topsy by Peter Wood Cotterill is a collection of sixteen stories and one novella. The range of the stories is variable—some are short, some are long. There is no central theme in it; but it explores the integral part of human struggles, emotions and facets. These unique stories are located in different backgrounds, touching different aspects of human conscience. On top of that, It portrays the spirit of flawed human relationships. Each story can be regarded as a standalone.
Some of the characters are placed in those circumstances for which they themselves are solely responsible for: 'That Guy What Killed Topsy' is a story of Lester, who describes the aftermath of killing a girl named Topsy. One can get a glimpse of guilt throughout his story. Some accounts are also driven by natural force: 'Am I Dead?' is a tale of Will, who unveils his sentiment in an uncontrollable situation. As he says: "Fat lot of good it did, if I am dead. Or dying. P’raps it is going to be my grave." He remembers his childhood moments, his romantic relationships, the things he hasn't done, and ultimately being an emotional mess. 'My Life and Times—Pussy Galore' digs into the episodes of the cat, mainly his feelings to his owner and his reaction to nature. 'Canned' explains the craziness of the everyday. 'Chancet be a Fine Thing' deals with the behavior of scared Aunt Bett in the quiz show.
The thing that I liked most is that these tales provide a balance between the primacy of plot and characterization. It is edited professionally; and is written in a heavy slang manner. Peter's mastery of making a dead-serious plot into a humorous one are on full display and also radiates his excitement of storytelling. There is also some surprising, and gasping twist present in the end.
Some of the stories are very interesting, but some are also boring. It was also hard for me to face the ending of some stories, and that's what I disliked most—no spoilers! Overall, this book is written in a simple manner, but it has some underlying hidden tone.
Those anthologies-lovers who want to read something new, or something experimental might check out this one. If you are new in this genre, then this book won't disappoint you. By exploring the pros and cons, I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars because of its gift of showing gut-wrenching emotions in a few words.
That Guy What Kill Topsy
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