3 out of 4 stars
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The book "Illustrated short fiction of William H.Coles" is a collection of short stories written by William H.Coles. It contains 33 short stories including "The gift", "Speaking of the Dead", "Homunculus", "Suchin’s Escape"," The Wreck of the Amtrak’s Silver Service", "The Indelible Myth", "The Stone cutter", "The Necklace", "Nemesis", "The Bear", "Gatemouth"," Willie Brown on Guitar", "The Golden Flute", "Dilemma", "The Amish Girl"," Dr. Greiner’s Day in Court", "The Cart Boy" ,"Lost Papers"," Inside the Matryoshka", "Big Gene", "Grief", "The Miracle of Madame Villard "," Clouds", "Reddog" , "The War of the Flies", "Crossing Over"," Father Ryan ", "Facing Grace with Gloria"," The Perennial Student"," The Activist", "Curse of a Lonely Heart", "On the Road to Yazoo City", "Captain Withers’s Wife" and " The Thirteen Nudes of Ernest Goings" along with 2 graphical novels, "Homunculus" and "Reddog",and a novella named "Sister Carrie".
As it is a short story collection so it is a cocktail of diverse stories, each having its own essence. From the tales of a dwarf to the account of the dead, a fiction fanatic can find every flavor in it. For an instance the gift revolves around the story of three generations: grandmother, mother and daughter who have their own perspective of seeing this world. Homunculus portrays the life of a dwarf working for a circus and her struggle to find her true love. Reddog is an account of a criminal's sense of guilt after committing a crime. Speaking of the dead makes you believe that sometimes forgiveness is the only option and moving on is never a wrong idea. The novella "sister Carrie" is a story of two sisters, Jassie the elder one and Carrie the youngest. Carrie marries a Muslim named Zamel against her sister's wish. I loved the way how the author unfolded the story and showed another side of the picture. Stereotypes are not always true and this is what the main idea of this story is. In a nutshell, this book offers a wide variety of literature to the reader.
One thing that I like the most about the writing style of Coles is that he has described every detail of the scenario and when you are reading the story, it seems like you are a part of it. But I also have some objection on few stories like "The Gift", though it's one of my favorite. In that story the author didn't clearly describe the role of Patricia's father. Although her mother's role is appreciable but I don't agree that the whole responsibility should be of mother's and father is free to enjoy his life. In my opinion it some sort of encourages premarital sex.
The illustrations are excellent. However, the graphical novellas do not clearly demonstrate the story unless you have read the written version and I think they may be improved a little bit.
The book is well edited and I found just one or two typographical errors. But the index is not properly arranged and it misguides the reader. I had to search the whole book for a specific story so the index needs to be fixed.
I rate this book 3 out of 4 stars because the content of the book is exceptional. If you want to read quality stuff in short time then this book should be on your reading list. Due to the flawed index and weak plot in a few stories I can't rate it 4 out 4 stars. Otherwise, the author has given strong messages in his writings that may inspire the reader. For an instance, this line is absolutely my favorite from "The Gift" :
" Ignore what she can’t do. Help her do what she can."
Illustrated Short Fiction of William H. Coles: 2000-2016
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