Monday, October 28, 2013

Two Short Reviews for Short Story Books

CHANCES by Norman Cooper is the second slimmest book I've ever purchased, but in its scant 22 pages are one okay, three very good and one excellent stories. (You'll have to figure out which is which on your own.) They are soulful looks inside characters' lives at critical junctures in their circumstances where life altering chances need to be taken or not taken. It's flash fiction, and I have to keep reminding myself of that. And yet, I feel some of the stories needed to have had the pixie dust of phrases, turns, and pithy lines sprinkled on them to enhance the reading experience to its fullest. I envision great things from Cooper once the knife blade is sharpened to the fullest extent. Here's your chance at an early preview of his writing in a 4-star flash-fiction book.

BROKEN ABROAD by Rasmenia Massoud is a book of nine well-played journeys of people abroad, searching for themselves or meaning to their existence. It is an overlooked 5-star gem of a book that digs deep into each of the main characters, and then digs a bit more as the author mines for what is the root of each person's existence and what they are trying to resolve. Unlike other deeply introspective short story writers whose stories or characters too often end up without fulfillment, creating a downward spiral look at life, Rasmenia has some stories that provide a hopefulness at the end of the life search being analyzed. To be sure there is heartbreak, but there is an embracement of our differences in most stories that, while even in tragedy, provide a hopeful boost for the human spirit. For short story readers, this is a book that should be read.

I was trying to have three collections for this posting, but the other two short story collections made me puke. One was so badly written, I swear the author pasted it together from a fourth-grade assignment; the other was just a badly written collection of ghoulish images with no plot or character development. Neither deserved review, both will die of electronic degradation.