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Reviewed by Vincent Dublado for Readers' Favorite
Reality often serves as a great blueprint for fiction and Joseph Costa illustrates this in his brilliant novel, Comets. This is a twelve-story collection that connects with one another and takes place in Ybor City. Here you get to meet Roberto, a cabinetmaker’s son, whose early orientation into his father’s cabinet business by performing simple tasks like cleaning is his father’s idea of daycare. This is where he learns the virtues of hard work, loyalty, and the dignity of labor. It has also become Roberto’s way of honoring his father’s legacy as an artisan. His father expects him to take over the business, but as Roberto grows up, he is at cross-purposes with the way his father runs the business and becomes drawn to a different aspiration.
Joseph Costa presents a family’s life journey with elegance and clarity by examining how much time plays a pivotal role in changing people’s perspectives and how they develop their own philosophy in life. In one way or another, Costa’s story is about the passage of time that he based on the moments he spent working for his dad. He deconstructs life as the sum of many parts, and what better way to show it than to write stories that are interconnected. What I appreciate about the storyline is that this type of tale about a father with an artistic legacy and a son he expects to take over what he started comes with expectations as the story moves forward. We don’t know what to expect in the rhythm of events but we are drawn into Roberto’s struggles, and we are willing to follow him at the end because the storyline doesn’t resort to an immediate catharsis. Comets is an important piece of work because it represents the important transition that we all go through in life.