3 out of 4 stars
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Illustrated Short Fiction of William H. Coles
This book contains 33 award winning short stories, 2 graphic novels, and a novella. Each of these stories is enchanting and intriguing with their vivid characters, suitable scenery, befitting settings, memorable dialogue, and perfect storyline.
The beginning story ‘The Gift’ is the tale of a teenage, unwed girl who gives birth to a crippled female baby. The story is all about parents’ concern to the unexpected teenage pregnancy, single motherhood, reactions of the society, the challenges to bring up the disabled kid and make her a competent person in the society. This is one of the examples of the stories in this compilation. Honestly, I found nearly all the stories fascinating, except 2 or 3. Most of them arouse heartfelt emotions and feelings and keep the readers glued to the story.
None of the characters and the storyline is alike in the entire book. The heterogeneity of the characters, plots, sets, and the scenes in this book make the reading enjoyable. I planned to read two tales a day, but ended up reading 3-4 at a stretch. These stories are not interconnected; hence absolutely no need to read them at a stretch. It was my undisturbed curiosity that made me read longer in a single sitting.
Most of these stories begin with an illustration or two. They support the storyline and make the reading delightful. My favourite stories are, ‘The Gift’, ‘Speaking of the Dead’, ‘The Indelible Myth’, ‘The Necklace’, ‘The Amish Girl’, ‘The Cart Boy’, ‘The Activist’, and ‘The Thirteen Nudes of Earnest Goings’, to name a few. I didn’t find the graphic novels much enticing to me, as the stories were repeated.
The novella, ‘Sister Carrie’ is the true gem of this story collection. I finished reading it without a break and almost not blinking my eyes in between. Just like the other tales, even this has moral, hidden deep feelings, warmth, love, religion, and positivity.
I didn’t like the cover page much. I was expecting it to be much better. There were a few grammar mistakes, unusual gap between the letters in a few words, and also, abnormal gap between two words. However, they don’t disturb the smooth flow of the story or reading delight. I hope editing of the book will make it flawless.
Considering the above, I award this book 3 out of 4 stars. This is a book for the public. As each story in the compilation is different from one another, the book as a whole touches all walks of life. I appreciate the author for selecting fascinating plots, alluring storylines, and befitting story presentation style. I congratulate him for his artistic writing finesse that makes each tale in this compilation intriguing and worth reading.
Illustrated Short Fiction of William H. Coles: 2000-2016
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