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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The art of storytelling,
This review is from: The Middle-Aged Man and the Sea (Paperback)
Christopher Meeks, author of several children's books as well as a playwright, has put together an interesting collection of short stories in 'The Middle-Aged Man and the Sea'. Meeks is a good storyteller, and draws on the ordinary and mundane and combines it with the sublime and esoteric in new and fascinating ways.
In the first story, there is a new look on envy and keeping up with the Jones, as a couple visits their neighbours for an Academy Award party, but find the grass-is-greener life in that house isn't in fact the perfect bliss one might hope for; in another story (the one that gives title to the collection), an ordinary fishing trip turns into a psychological trip as significant revelations are made that leave the characters at a want for words.
Most of the stories look toward a darker impulse, a foreboding or ominous presence, or some other indication of limitation and mortality. 'The Scent' explores in some ways the psychological power of the sense of smell, but also the ways in which decay comes into our lives on a larger level. One can get from these stories a sense of love and sense of loss, a feeling of hope and the stab of despair. A remarkable aspect of these stories is their subtlety - the stories don't jump out with neon signs signifying meaning, but rather let the meaning seep into the more-ordinary tasks and situations of life.
Meeks is a good narrative writer, equally adept at description as well as a conversation and explanation. Each story has engaging characters who are familiar, yet with significant attributes that make them interesting to follow. I kept finding myself wanting more from each story, which is the mark of good writing for me, that the well has not run dry.
I look forward to further writings by Christopher Meeks.
5.0 out of 5 stars From "Red Adept Reviews",
This review is from: The Middle-Aged Man and the Sea (Kindle Edition)
Plot/Storyline: 4 1/2
For the most part, these stories did not have traditional `plots'. Most of them were simple short character studies involving relationships.
The relationships are a broad range from spousal to maternal. Tragedies abound in many of the works, but it is introduced so subtly that the reader must stop to contemplate each event.
This work is filled with terrific metaphors, detailed descriptions and skilled storytelling.
"The Scent" was my favorite. It was intriguing and had a jolt at the end. I also enjoyed "Green River".
Two or three of the stories were rather bland and seemed to drag on longer than necessary. However, out of thirteen, that's a pretty good ratio.
Character Development: 5 Stars
Each character in these stories is developed to the fullest extent possible in the space allowed. For the time it takes to read each one, you are catapulted into the mind and soul of the protagonist.
Writing Skill: 4 3/4 Stars
This book was written by a literary artist with a firm grasp of the English language and knows of all that it is capable.
The dialogue was a bit stilted in a couple of the stories, most notably the first one.
To be perfectly honest, the stories were not of my usual fare. While I did gain some enjoyment, most of my thrill came from the writing technique.
Editing/Formatting: 5 Stars
The editing was of commercially published quality. The formatting was fine, although, I did wish for a working Table of Contents.
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The Middle-Aged Man and the Sea by Christopher Meeks