4 out of 4 stars
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In Illustrated Short Fiction of William H. Coles 2000-2016, William H. Coles has written and collected, over a period of years, a variety of short stories encompassing the gamut of human experiences in our more modern world, with some exceptions.
Throughout each of these thirty-six stories, the reader follows the thought processes, values, and judgments of a wide range of characters, leading to the consequences of their decisions. As an ophthalmic surgeon, with other wonderful achievements and talents, William H. Coles has a lifetime of experience relating to people from all walks of life, and draws from his vast studies as well. He has written quite a few other books that also illustrate the human condition and interactions of life.
The stories in this volume are illustrated by several artists; and even some illustrations are in comic strip newspaper style, similar to the comic strips we read as children. The pictures are interesting representations of what the tales will show us about the characters and their actions. I appreciate this old style, especially in the story of some circus actors and their dilemmas.
In these anecdotal accounts, we see portrayed some of the common mistakes repeatedly made throughout history. For example, there are the young women mistakenly believing that their married lovers really will leave their wives and children to marry them instead. Of course, that usually ends in heartbreak. Then there is the young lady who thinks she can make the most popular young man want to marry her, all the while rejecting the best young man who loves her and has the most to offer.
There are two crooks who kidnap a young lady and put her in danger. The leader doesn't care about her safety, but the less intelligent, howbeit more noble, underling risks his life to save her.
The French Revolution receives pain-filled treatment, as young people flee the dangers of chaos and murder in Paris and its vicinity; and come to have hope and strength to survive.
The last story is a compelling novella titled Sister Carrie that deals with the clashing of cultures in our times in America, involving Christian and Muslim friendships and marriages. I like it best because of the hope that, even under dire circumstances, true faith can prevail and bring good outcomes.
Take it all around, there is something that promises to touch everyone perusing these fictional, and often tragic, short stories, that are Dr. Coles' own insights into the human-relations conditions that we all face in our everyday lives. These stories are really for mature audiences because of graphic references to sex and tacky language, which goes with the tacky characters portrayed herein.
Hardly any grammatical errors mean that readers will not be affected by them. I give this book 4 out of 4 stars for description, simplicity, character arcs, and story line. Many stories do not have real conclusions, leaving the reader hanging; but, then, that is life, isn't it?
Illustrated Short Fiction of William H. Coles: 2000-2016
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