Thursday, December 19, 2013


Title: Short Stories For The Hopeful And The Weary - A Collection of Four Short Stories
Author: Scott Roloff

After struggling with a particular book for over 8 month and still not moving at all, and doubting my reading skills and ability, I had almost thought my book reviewing career was about to terminate. 

But that was until this book came along. Power packed with emotions and reality, this little book 'Short Stories for the Hopeful and the Weary', like water released from a dam, washed away many of my doubts. Good books still exist and good stories still sell! And I thank God for it..!

Perhaps one of the shortest books I have read in ages, this little collection of four still shorter independent stories, happens to score, and score big, despite all odds. A little boy is too old to be a preferred choice of couples wishing to adopt kids. An old man looks back at his life and wonders if it was indeed well lived. A man busy in his own dreamy world realizes what life his wife might be living. And last, a complicated and confusing conversation with the Devil. 

In the first story, 'Nicoli's Birthday', in the hindsight of a war, a young couple wishes to adopt a little girl from an orphanage. There, a young boy touches their lives and they have, but to take a decision. Their decision in the positive would alter their lives and would totally change the destiny of the kid. Though it is a very simple story, the instinctive reactions of the characters have been captured so beautifully that one can just fall in love with the story. The idea of the war in the background could have been stressed more and made more prominent to include an element of contrast between love and war. Nonetheless, this story runs away with the sweeping 4 on 5 rating. A must read for the hopeful and the weary, I must say!

The second story, 'A Lifetime Until Dawn' captures the uneasiness of an iron willed army general, as he looks back at the life that he has lived and wonders if it was actually well lived or not? Well, of the given four stories, for me, this one takes the cake. The simplicity with which the whole scene has been narrated and how even minute details (like the fly, for instance) have been carefully handled, makes the story even more impressive. A massive 4.75 on 5 for this one. Undoubtedly a must read for one and all.

'Saturday's Crossroads', the third in line, is a typical dilemma faced by a person who is now used to seeking pleasures beyond the domestic ambit and is suddenly forced to think of his wife and their strained matrimony. The story plot is somewhere similar to O. Henry's 'The Pendulum'. A 3.5 on 5 for this one looks good!

The last, 'God and the Devil' is a complex and confusing piece from the point of view of an average reader who would want to read for the sake of reading and for being temporarily influenced by the charm of the story. This story is quite deep and would require long hours of pondering upon. The plot of the story is a conversation between a devil and a journalist. From a layman's perspective a 2 on 5 for this one should be alright, but then for those willing to delve down deeper, well..!!

Overall, a very interesting and a insightful book, looking at life from different perspectives and angles, it leaves you yearning for more. The author's style of writing is very addictive, with the narration being profound and most of the stories ending in an amazing twist.

A wonderfully tiny book, it wont take more than a day to complete. Go ahead. Read. Enjoy.


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