4 out of 4 stars
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Illustrated Short Fiction of William H. Coles 2000-2016 contains 32 short stories, two graphic novels (derived from two stories which are written in prose within the book) and a novella entitled "Sister Carrie." William H. Coles wrote these stories in such a way that I could imagine myself in the character’s position. For instance, the use of an unusual form of English for the story "Gatemouth Willie Brown on Guitar" might give readers in another part of the world the idea that people in New Orleans speak like that. My favorite story is "Curse of a Lonely Heart."
William H. Coles is a skilled writer. The stories are all great, and the illustrators did a good job. The tales and illustrations are ostentatious. I use the word ‘ostentatious’ because I came across the word several times in different stories. I noticed that William likes to use the female name ‘Agnes’ for his female characters. I almost thought that they were the same person, but the stories are different. When reading the Illustrated Short Fiction of William H. Coles 2000-2016 be warned that you will come across things like ‘life-sized statues’ and ‘overstuffed chairs’ severally.
A common theme that appears in most of the stories is death. There is a lot of dying or being killed and thrilling stories of murder. However, the book also has tales of humor and romance which have happy endings. Other themes include religion, grief, marriage, divorce, mental illness, and crime.
I was dazzled by the simplicity by which the stories are told with such a captivating effect. The dialogues are witty and dispersed appropriately within different stories. William uses some interesting phrases that are worth quoting because of how they relate to human life. They may not be true but, they are expressions of thought-provoking ideas. “No love makes the innocent dry up and blow away” is said by Amy Withers, a character on page 281. “Like marriage is bondage” is said by Helen, a character in "The Necklace."
There are a few typing errors in the book, which need to be corrected. The mistakes were not too serious to merit a removal of one star from the rating. Illustrated Short Fiction of William H. Coles 2000-2016 deserves 4 out of 4 stars because reading it was such a delight. It is one of those books that you do not give away easily.
I recommend this book to fans of literature who do not shy away from tales of horror, sex, murder and human imperfections. The descriptions are not too graphic or exaggerated. Nonetheless, this collection of short fiction is suitable for an adult audience.
Illustrated Short Fiction of William H. Coles: 2000-2016
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