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Reviewed by Lois Henderson for Readers' Favorite
Eckhard Gerdes’ Marco & Iarlaith: A Novel in Flash Fictions tells of a father and son, who live on a riverbank, watching while time and the river go by. Both have a low self-esteem issue with the father, Iarlaith, having a part-time job in a local foundry, where he sorts type (usually the “rather dull, sans-serif fonts”) and the son, Marco, busying himself with creating composite artworks from litter he finds discarded at the riverside. However, what they do have, and joyfully in abundance, is each other, with the depth of their friendship helping them cope with all their adversity. This heart-warming tale is written in flash fiction segments, which one can read totally independently of each other at random or else as a continuous string of beautifully written mini-tales, each with its own distinct merits.
I truly savored the tone of Gerdes’ Marco & Iarlaith. Despite a tendency to associate flash fiction with short flashes of insight into and perspective on life that stand alone and separate from one another, here I found that the multiple mini-stories, in fact, blended into a composite picture of the two chief protagonists. The harmonious whole really served to capture my heart, and I grew to love these characters, warts and all. Marco & Iarlaith should appeal to anyone concerned with the spiritual aspects of life. The characterization of father and son, as well as of those with whom they are forced to coexist on a daily base (such as Iarlaith’s awful, soul-destroying boss), is crafted with such skill and wit that the mingled pathos and humor of the writing triumphs overall. In short, and somewhat ironically, Marco & Iarlaith is a real winner.