3 out of 4 stars
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"Short stories are tiny windows into other worlds and other minds and other dreams. They are journeys you can make to the far side of the universe and still be back in time for dinner." Neil Gaiman
Short and not so Short Stories by Adrian Del Valle is a collection of ten multi-genre stories, two of which are an account of true events. The diversity in the stories, the settings, the eras, and the psychological atmosphere is striking. Each story takes the reader on a novel journey. The first one, as an example, takes place in 16th-century-Spain, with the heroism of Arturo and the hardships he faces taking center stage. Ensues is 19th- century-US, New Mexico, where Lee embarks on his transition from slavery to freedom. 'The Illegals' and the 'The Russian Gulang' are two very peculiar stories. Two of my favorites are 'The Piano Player' and 'Curby', which take place in our recent days in the US.
With a smooth narrative, a compelling writing style, and enjoyable storylines, the author introduces us to worlds that may be unknown to many of us. That said, I appreciated the thorough research the author has put into his stories and his good command of lingos. Del Valle’s characters stand out for being both well-developed and relatable. Moreover, I relished the rich and heartfelt dialogue, which added to the enjoyment of the book.
There is such depth, eloquence, and a graceful writing style that transports the reader into the heart of events, and instills a feeling of sadness when the story ends, something akin to bidding farewell to a dear friend. "I look at Jeanie no differently than I would if she had sight. It plays no negative importance to me. After all, like the rest of the human race, there is no perfection among any of us. We all have a handicap of one sort or another, whether it be depression, habitual dependency, physical, mental or social dysfunction; or even the inability to provide basic needs for one’s family."
Furthermore, I liked the nearly poetic writing style, "she has awakened my nurturing spirit. I welcome the chance to go beyond self to embrace all that she is about, not only for what she can offer me, but rather, her ups and downs, her strengths and weaknesses, her physical abilities and all that that may entail."
The exquisite writing, the unique and memorable themes, as well as the versatility in genres render these short stories appealing to a vast array of readers, hence the strong recommendation to read these Short and not so Short Stories. The only issue I had with the book was the editing. There were several instances of missing hyphens and some grammatical errors, which were predominantly related to the possessive "s" use. While these were neither distracting nor annoying, they were, however, enough to deduct a star from the total rating. It, therefore, pains me to rate Short and not so Short stories by Adrian Del Valle 3 out of 4 stars. The book could use another round of editing and proofreading, to clear up the easily fixable mistakes and, notch it up to the perfect score it is worthy of.
On a final note, I shall be reading more from this author, as his words are a treat for the eyes and mind.
Short and not so short stories
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