Illustrated Short Fiction of William H. Coles: 2000-2016

Full Color Edition

Fiction - Literary
410 Pages
Reviewed on 10/05/2020
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Ruffina Oserio for Readers' Favorite

Illustrated Short Fiction of William H. Coles: 2000-2016: Full Color Edition by William H. Coles is a gorgeous collection of short stories and novellas, with beautiful illustrations. The characters are exceptional, each featuring a complex protagonist in a challenging situation, from teachers to parents, to the disabled, to mothers, and others. The stories have central themes and situations of conflict that leave readers asking questions about life, human dignity, abuse, murder, hope, loss, family, parenting, and forgiveness. These stories are the finest work from an author who knows so well how to portray human nature in the writing craft.

The “Gift” is one of my best stories and it follows a young girl’s pregnancy and the callousness with which the mother handles the situation, sending her to a nunnery in France where she gives birth. The child turns out to have multiple abnormalities. But this child is “the gift” who eventually changes both the life of the mother and the grandparents. First, the stories are realistic, with characters that are enjoyable and believable. The craft is masterly and the author weaves suspense into the short stories, making them page-turners for readers. It is interesting how much is written in a few pages and how the author builds tension. I am familiar with William H. Coles’ novels, which are enticing and hugely enjoyable, but this collection is composed of pearls that any reader will enjoy and will want to revisit. Illustrated Short Fiction of William H. Coles: 2000-2016: Full Color Edition is a gift for short story lovers and there is so much for readers to enjoy.

Mamta Madhavan

Who does not like reading short stories? Illustrated Short Fiction: 2000-2016: Full Color Edition by William H. Coles is a collection of entertaining and engaging short stories that breathe life into different characters and varied scenarios. The book comprises 35 short stories, two graphic novels, and a novella with some wonderful illustrations that run through the text. The stories are all unique in their own special way and explore a gamut of human emotions that will entertain readers. The emotions range from depression to hate to decisions to unrequited love to anger to redemption, and they also revolve around other conflicts and dilemmas faced by characters. The stories will help look readers at the human psyche with a new perspective and what makes this an interesting book is that it has something for every reader.

Illustrated Short Fiction: 2000-2016: Full Color Edition by William H. Coles offers good plots and well-portrayed characters that are real and relatable and will resonate with readers. These stories with their messages and different lifestyles will stay in the hearts of readers for a long time. It is quite nice how the characters deal with their challenges, their adversities, and emotions. The illustrations are captivating and all the stories will make readers ponder and lean more towards the darker side of human nature. It is a mature collection with adult content and the layers and dimensions will get readers thinking about the nuances of life in general. It is definitely a collection worth having on the bookshelf, not only for the stories but also for its unconventional approach when it comes to presentation.

Gobi Jane

Illustrated Short Fiction of William H. Coles: 2000-2016: Full-Color Edition by William H. Coles is a collection of thirty-three short stories, two graphic novels, and a novella, featuring strong plots and exciting characters in situations that are right for them. Each story is unique, with its plot turns and twists, conflict, and character motivation. The collection features a variety of themes, from dealing with bad choices to parenting. My most favorite stories were “Sister Carrie,” a novella, and “The Gift,” a short story. In one, a sister is taking care of her younger sister after the death of their parents and discovers that she’s been having an affair with an older man with whom she’s bonded on the internet. Can she change the sister’s mind or lose her to a marriage to which she doesn’t give her blessing? In the other, the author explores a mother’s reaction to her daughter’s unexpected pregnancy by sending her away, but what happens with a handicapped child transforms their lives positively.

This is a wonderful collection and William H. Coles knows what it takes to make readers love characters. At times you will find yourself pondering on the choices that the characters make. At times, you will feel for them and wish they did things differently. At times, a deep sigh of relief will escape you as you follow the characters through realistic scenes and situations that compel them to grow or change. The stories are beautifully illustrated and each illustration carries a message of its own. Illustrated Short Fiction of William H. Coles is delightful and I loved the author’s ability to write engaging scenes, create characters that are real, and invent a world that readers can recognize.

Rabia Tanveer

Illustrated Short Fiction of William H. Coles: 2000-2016: Full Color Edition is a collection of short stories, a novella, and 2 graphic novels in which the author explores humans, their behavior, and how each situation brings out something different in us. From stories that show human beings at their best to stories that show how fascinating humans can be, this collection contains little pieces of us in each of its stories. From The Gift to The Thirteen Nudes of Ernest Goings, each short story is a perfect slice of life. This collection has lighthearted, emotional, and life-changing stories that can very much be the life stories of people we know.

The full-color illustrations make this collection even more realistic. Each illustration gives the reader an idea of what they should expect from the story while it sets the mood at the same time. Each illustrator captures the essence of the stories, their mood and gives them a visual representation. I love that none of the illustrations have the same style and each of them is as unique as the story it represents. As for the stories, I will never get tired of William H. Coles’s narrative style. There is something wholesome and comforting in the way he writes. His narrative style changes with the characters, he offers readers something new and special with each story, and he makes sure they are transported into the story from the moment they pick up any of his books. This collection is no different. I highly recommend Illustrated Short Fiction of William H. Coles: 2000-2016 to anyone who likes short yet complete stories.

Maureen Dangarembizi

Illustrated Short Fiction of William H. Coles: 2000-2016 is an award-winning collection of memorable short stories. These stories are diverse and they are about real people in real-life situations. I loved the grim edge in many of these stories. There are several funerals, deaths but happy endings too. The author is not afraid to show the dark side of human nature and this gave the stories an authenticity they wouldn’t have had otherwise. I enjoyed the artwork that opened each story. The saying 'a picture is worth more than a thousand words' couldn’t be truer. They made me curious to find out what the story was about. There are also two comic-style stories readers will enjoy for their dynamic imagery and great tales.

My favorite story was Sister Carrie, a tale about two sisters who have just lost their parents. And when a Muslim man comes out of the woodwork, claiming Jessie's little sister in marriage, she does everything she can to protect her sibling. It dealt with so many social issues especially prejudice. This story had a twist in the end that I truly enjoyed. I felt sad reading Surchin’s Escape, a story about human trafficking. That story lit a torch in my chest at the injustices women in forced prostitution face. It’s a shame pimps still find men on the street willing to spend money on someone in pain. There are so many stories to enjoy that I know readers will find many genres covered and at least one favorite story. Illustrated Short Fiction of William H. Coles: 2000-2016 is well worth the time I spent reading it.