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Reviewed by Susan Sewell for Readers' Favorite
Smog obliterates the skies of a large city in the early nineteen-fifties, leaving the inhabitants sick and dying in the extraordinary novella, Shades of Black (The Life and Death of George Weeks) by Debbie Manber Kupfer. London no longer has clear skies, and a large portion of its citizens are falling ill due to the dark clouds hovering over the city. Concerned about the population's welfare, Parliament attempts to pass a law. This act will aid in clearing away the unhealthy particles which are clouding the air. However, one prominent businessman is unconcerned about the sinister ramifications looming within the dark sky above them. Convincing his colleagues that industry and commerce are far more important than a few sick people, the law is passed over and the act is not enforced. But what will happen to the citizens of London if the pollution remains unchecked? How will it affect the rest of the world?
Shades of Black (The Life and Death of George Weeks) by Debbie Manber Kupfer is a thought-provoking short story with an alarming message. It is an eloquently written narrative about the repercussions pollution can have on our planet. Although the story is short and succinct, the subject matter is compelling though disturbing. More importantly, Ms. Kupfer's point is easily understood. Centered around the prime character, the story unfolds in a unique manner. Usually, the main character is a protagonist; however, in this case, he is the antagonist. As a person who only cares about his wealth and status, his actions are appallingly distasteful, making it very easy to dislike him. Even though it has a grim aspect, I could relate to the underlying spirit of the story. Stunningly executed!