Book Blurb :
Meeting Mandela: South Africa vacationers encounter the President. Romance Revisited: A voyage of rediscovery. One More for the Road: A growing family’s trials. Birds of a Feather: A construction worker is attracted to a waitress. Railway to Heaven: Kentucky is Hell; therefore distant California must be Heaven. Blow, Gabriel, Blow: A young man makes music. Diamond Exchange: A courier delivers stolen jewels. Literary Life: A publisher and editor disagree. King of Vulture Valley: An old desert rat reveals a secret. She Serpent: A detective tosses away the book. Milestones and Millstones: A cloudy past comes clear. Bag Man: A stumble onto major money. Muddling Musketeers: Hunting buddies bring home their partner’s body. Close Call: A predictable life almost ends. Next Bus to Jubilee: A con artist preys on women. Pal of Mine: An organization falls apart. Deborah: Co-workers have an affair. Order in the Forum: Political leaders discuss business.
I wish I could give this book a higher rating but I couldn’t get into the writing style of this author. This collection contains eighteen stories that really don’t seem to have a connection to each other. Maybe I should have paid attention to the title more closely, Cabbages and King, which now makes me think this was the author’s deliberate choice to give a hint to the stories I was going to read. I enjoy more the collections that at least have a common character or theme and this was something that heavily weighed on my mind as I read these short stories. The first in the collection was ‘Meeting Mandela’
This short story centers on a group of travelers touring throughout South Africa who meet Nelson Mandala in a dining room and become friendly with him. I found it a bit of bore honestly because he only says a few sentences and the main thing that I was left in my head with was the strident voice of one of the women who was whining about the accommodations to everyone.
The next story takes a totally different turn and is about lost love between a US soldier and an Australia woman who meet during the war. He returns to find her and basically it is told in his passive voice as he reminisces about his past and then switches to them together talking about their respective marriages and their near misses. The story ends with the daughter of Australian woman calling the American to invite him to visit her mother’s home.
I see no pattern to these tales. There is no cumulative cohesive thread. Maybe it’s connected to the sense of travel? Opportunities found in travel? Baffling!
The third story is about a family on the road during the Depression trying to get to Kentucky where they have family. The first half is about their journey and the second half is about their baby coming and its arrival on a dirt road. The rest of the stories are different and diverse but there is no common link that is understandable to me.
I have to give this book 3 couples and that’s being generous. I truly was expecting something totally different from what I got. I normally enjoy short stories in general and this collection of mix and match has made me take a step back and seriously think about my choices on what to review.
Pubisher : Champagne Books
Source : Manic Readers
Released : 2011
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