Title: Scouting for the Reaper
Author: Jacob M. Appel
I'm very skeptical these days about the author giveaways. My past experiences have been sore but this book changed my opinion. I'm sure I will be reading more of Appel in the future too. There are already a few on my list.
This book is a collection of 8 short stories each one different from other. Very different, some intriguing, some witty, some mundane and some other very ambiguous yet all very creative and very well written. All the stories end with the readers wanting for more. Some may not like this sort of story writing, but I'm personally a fan of this sort where you may have a lot of climaxes of your own. The language and use of words is brilliant and gives an impression that the author knows his language really well.
The stories are like never read before (atleast by me). The author writes with both a male and female voice. I have read of a male author writing in a female voice before. He has really learnt this craft and never once did I feel it was Appel talking. Theres one about a girl who doubts her ancestry based on her blood test in her school lab, one that talks of a woman who goes to every possible extent of trying to recover the eyesight of a pet rabbit, another about an overly anxious and concerned lady who worries when her lawn mower doesn't appear after thirty-seven years of turning up regularly, a typical business-man trying to sell a tomb stone to a customer who is dying and who is her ex-lover, a truck driver who carries penguins from one place to another, a light maker to tries to ignite his love with his childhood sweetheart, a Jewish rabbi going to all extents trying hard to bury a neighbor's son. I see a lot of creativity in the way these stories are crafted. I like the simplicity of the stories and the complexity and various layers the characters possess.
My favourite is that of a lady who is forced to handle all the financial accounts when her husband passes away and resistingly falls in love with the accountant even though she suspects him of wrongly doing the accounts. The stories in the book are page turners not because they are great thrillers/mystery and ever surprising fantasy books. I think its the language and creative description of the daily life, very ordinary circumstances that will keep you glued to the book. The next time I will surely think twice of striking a conversation if I ever have a lawn mower.
It can be read by all and a must read if you are a lover of short stories. Some may not like the way the stories are left hanging at loose ends. There are three more books on my to-do list from the same author which I'm absorbing right away after this. Stay tuned.