I’m not a big reader of short stories. I prefer novels most of the time, but some short stories have impressed me over the years, and I have a sneaking suspicion that I should read more short stories in order to improve my own writing. I reviewed a book by William H. Coles recently called Creating Literary Stories, and I was impressed by the ideas and techniques he described. I wanted to see the results of his theories, and what kind of writing they produced, so when I got this chance to read Illustrated Illustrated Short Fiction of William H. Coles: 2000-2016, I jumped at it. I am suitably impressed. Mr. Coles’ writing is intensely powerful and delivers a maximum punch in a relatively small time. I can see a mastery of techniques that he talked about in Creating Literary Stories, and I have learned so much from reading and studying these two books. These stories are great. You don’t have to be a writer to enjoy them. I think every reader will love and appreciate them.
Most of the stories in Illustrated Short Fiction of William H. Coles: 2000-2016 present the reader with ethical moral dilemmas that cannot easily be solved. These are questions and situations that real people face in life. Thank heavens most of us don’t, but some people do. The characters are real, the conflicts vividly intense and the resolutions, while not always as satisfying as we would hope for in a perfect world, are good enough for this one. “The Gift” was my personal favorite. I have been a sucker for short stories with this title since discovering O. Henry in high school. I fell in love with O. Henry’s writing then and I love William H. Coles’ writing now.