3 out of 4 stars
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Illustrated Short Fiction of William H. Coles is truly a fiction lover’s dream. Coles is a master story-teller who takes the reader on a rollercoaster ride of characters, scenarios, and emotions. Though most stories are extremely short, they are written with such passion and thoroughness you cannot help but feeling connected with each work. I admire the way no two stories are the same, each presenting a new mini adventure for the reader.
One of my favorite short stories from the book is titled “Big Gene.” This work of fiction is about an African American man who befriends an unlikely individual while playing piano at a truck stop. This story is set in the ‘70s, where racial tensions still ran high among blacks and whites, which causes quite a stir around Big Gene’s new friendship. Though he is now looked down upon by many, through patience and kindness Big Gene uses this relationship to show the progress being made between the two races. Big Gene’s attitude throughout the story is what I believe made me admire this particular work. He did what he thought was right and did not let societal pressures affect his outlook on how he should be conducting his life nor influence his relationships with certain people.
Another personal favorite of mine is entitled “The Amish Girl.” A short love story that brings together forbidden lovers, then tears them apart. Peter, a university student, meets and falls in love with a mysterious Amish girl, Hannah, during a dull summer semester. After convincing her to leave her family for a few days of freedom, he confesses his love for her. Soon after returning her to her family, Peter learns from her mother that due to Peter and Hannah’s forbidden relationship, Hannah has been sent away. So, Peter begins his search for his lost love, but will they ever reunite?
These are just a few of many of the creative stories in this wonderfully written book. I rate Illustrated Short Fiction of William H. Coles a 3 out of 4 stars. I would have no problem rating it a 4, as it is one of the best collections of short stories I have ever read, but there were a few minor grammatical errors. These mistakes, however, are rare and will not obstruct the readers understanding nor take away from the overall momentum of the stories in which they occur.
In my opinion, recommending this book to any one, particular audience is difficult because it contains material for any and all readers. The content, however is geared toward a more mature audience as the subject matter and underlying tones of some stories have deeper meanings that some young minds might not quite comprehend.
All-in-all, this book quickly became a new favorite for me. I highly recommend it to anyone looking to expand their minds or anyone simply looking for a great story or stories. The vivid characters are beautifully described and easily visualized and understood. Each scenario is so unique and captivating it makes the book hard to put down. This was my first book read from this site and it has me looking forward to reading more of Cole’s work.
Illustrated Short Fiction of William H. Coles: 2000-2016
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