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Reviewed by Lit Amri for Readers' Favorite
In Four Very Different Short Stories by Mahmoud Suleiman Abdi Dualeh, four contemporary tales cover the theme of family, mystery, ethics, and fantasy. After 14 years, a family tries to find a way to reunite with each other in Family Day, a poignant story that starts the collection. It highlights the importance of not giving up on hope and moving on with life. In The Archeologist’s Secret, an archeologist discovers a hidden knowledge of the ancients that he, unfortunately, can’t reveal to the world despite the good it will do for humanity. Karen, The Misbehaved Girl is a story about a girl who takes pleasure in making others take the blame for her mischief until fate intervenes. The fourth and final tale of the collection is Mersa’s Surge of Energy, a story about a boy who discovers his special ability and others who are like him, including the danger they face from a very determined enemy.
Delivered in straightforward prose, the element that connects Mahmoud Suleiman Abdi Dualeh's Four Very Different Short Stories is the twist of fate that waits for all the characters, whether expected or otherwise. The emotional impacts are light but familiar as interplays between the characters' past, thoughts, and actions carry the stories, affecting their choices and their circumstances. Depending on readers' preferences, some of the stories could benefit from a tighter plot and less precipitous conclusions. The Archeologist’s Secret certainly has the potential to be continued, in my opinion. All in all, this collection is a quick read that reflects on both the reality and fantastical facets of society today, pertaining to human needs, desires, and flaws in life.