Review of Sing Ho! Stout Cortez

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Review of Sing Ho! Stout Cortez

Post by Josephe-Anne »

[Following is an official review of "Sing Ho! Stout Cortez" by Michael W. Thomas.]
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4 out of 4 stars
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The mundane aspects of life become extraordinary and bygone eras are revisited in this collection of novellas and short stories. In Sing Ho! Stout Cortez: Novellas and Stories by Michael W. Thomas, readers can take a trip to the Spice Island of Grenada or meander the streets of suburban Britain. Either way, they’ll be entertained by these surreal stories. From a young man reminiscing about his schooldays to a middle-aged woman finally freeing herself from a traumatic experience that she repressed for decades, these tales are realistic and relatable. They seem like they could describe people you know in your own neighborhood, and that is what makes this collection so powerful.

The cover design is simple, but it perfectly reflects the content within. It features the image of a conquistador with a map of Grenada in the background. The illustration is set on a blue frame with white lettering. The themes of this collection include nostalgia, surrealism, music, Caribbean culture, British culture, sexual abuse, and resilience in the face of adversity. The two novellas were written from the first-person perspective, whereas the short stories were told from the third-person point of view. Colorful and unusual language was used throughout the book. Rape and other forms of violence were alluded to, but these situations were not discussed in explicit detail. Profanity was used several times in the text, but it was not excessive. The editing was excellent as I did not find any errors.

The book was named after one of the short stories in which a bold dreamer performed a one-man play at a New Year’s Eve party, and I must say that he, and so many of the other characters, were delightfully original. “The Maker’s Mark” was my favorite story in this collection, and the teenaged protagonist, Ian Wilkerson, was my favorite character because he reminded me of my younger self. Ian had the unusual habit of analyzing how people entered their vehicles. “Tickle, Tickle” was my second favorite piece because, even though it was upsetting, I liked the realism and the fact that the main character was able to come to terms with her horrific past in a truly empowering way. I also liked the inclusion of Grenadian vernacular in the novella called “Esp: The Voice of Grenada.” Helpful footnotes provided the definition of these words. It would be interesting to hear an audiobook version of this story read by someone with a Grenadian accent.

There wasn’t much to dislike about this book. Apart from the author’s sometimes baffling but unique writing style, my only complaint is with the short story entitled “Mister Sixth.” This story described a man who attended a class reunion, but the underlying message in the tale was unclear to me. This seemed inconsistent with the other stories.

Nevertheless, Sing Ho! Stout Cortez: Novellas and Stories by Michael W. Thomas has earned a rating of four out of four stars. Most of the stories in this compilation had a dreamlike quality about them. Even though the stories wandered in strange, divergent directions at first, they were brilliantly written in such a way that everything made sense in the end. I recommend this book to readers who enjoy short stories with a twist and those who appreciate historical fiction.

Sing Ho! Stout Cortez
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Post by Aisha Yakub »

I think I'd enjoy reading this book. Great review.
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Post by Ikechukwu+12345 »

Thanks for a detailed review. I look forward to reading this book. Weldone.
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Post by nwankwo chibuchi »

I'm particularly interested in the story of the middle aged woman who finally found the courage to free herself from a traumatizing experience she has repressed for a long time. This is a beautiful review. Well done.
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Post by Amy Luman »

I find it interesting that the author can switch form first to third person with such ease. As I see it, this is a credit to his talent.
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Post by Wesusa »

I love that this book was so well-written. The gravitas that the author possesses is astounding. I loved the review!
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Post by Uwe Neufeld »

I like short stories too. Usually every story has some kind of message, leads the reader along a certain path.
Seems an interesting book to me.
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Post by Abu_Aisha1 »

The themes of nostalgia, surrealism, music, Caribbean culture, British culture, sexual abuse, and resilience in the face of adversity sounds too interesting to be ignored. I enjoyed reading your review.
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Post by Ellylion »

I like short prose with a twist in the end, so I would enjoy this collection, I believe :) Caribbean motives and a profound historical background would add to the enjoyment. Thanks for a great review!
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Post by Sushan Ekanayake »

Novellas and short stories are a quite amazing part in literature. I would love to try this one. Thank you for the detailed review.
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Post by Dami Bassam »

The woman play a big role in this story ,she suffer a traumatic experience in delicate period but with the time , all is perfect.We can hear an audiobook version, "the voice of Grenada". " The life change by the developping technologie and we hope that go in the good sens, not the bad. "
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Post by julietmumbua23 »

What a wonderful anthology. Great review.
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