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Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite
Have you ever asked yourself, or someone else for that matter, what is the meaning of life? It’s a profound question that haunts all of us at one time or another and many of us spend our lives searching for the answer. There are other powerful questions that haunt us: the difference between right and wrong, life and death, the survival of the fittest and so much more. World traveling author Ryan Thaddeus, born in rural Saskatchewan (Canada), has challenged these deep questions throughout his life. And now he writes about them in his complex, mind-boggling short stories. In his story, One Night An Angel Came to Me, he writes, “This is the truth of existence. All is energy. All is light. All is love.” But his main character, one who has lived a good long life, challenges this belief with the simple question/statement, “How can I know love without hate?” We mere humans are conflicted by these contradictory meanings and we struggle to comprehend what may never be comprehensible in our lifetime.
Short Stories from Saskatchewan and Beyond is Ryan Thaddeus’ first collection of short stories. The author unravels the ‘who am I?’ mysteries that haunt us in a free-thinking form that borders on fairy tale, science fiction, fantasy, metaphysical and cautionary tales of alternate realities. For when we ask the ‘who am I?’ question, do we not also wonder if our existence in this place is real or imaginary? In his prologue to the short story, The Graveyard Shift, the author writes, “Know yourself and you find your directions.” Each story is superficially entertaining, but there is a much deeper meaning, often more than one as the stories demand multiple readings to comprehend their complexities. A powerful look at the meaning of life.