Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Book Review: 'Illustrated Short Fiction of William H. Coles (2000-2016)' by William H. Coles

Illustrated Short Fiction of William H. Coles 2000-2016 by William H. Coles
Stories for every taste

Utah author William H. Coles, MD is a retired Ophthalmologist whose medical career was internationally lauded for his expertise as an ophthalmic surgeon specializing in ocular injury repair and reconstruction, a professor and chairman at SUNY Buffalo School of Medicine, a Regent for The American College of Surgeons, president of the Association of University Professors in Ophthalmology, and lecturer on mechanistic biologic ophthalmic research and ophthalmic surgery internationally. Equally respected in the literary world, Coles published ten books - five novels, collections of short fiction and three books on the writing of fiction stories. He has also garnered honors for his participation in the arts – jazz piano, antique art, museums, and historic preservation.

In many ways this collection of short stories is a reflection of the growth in stature as a writer since the turn of this century. The stories have been published individually and as such they represent a spectrum of thought, concepts, and revelation of the talent of this distinguished author. 

Accompanied by an assortment of fine illustrations, each story is poignant, presenting a number of significant social comments for pondering. For example, the initial story, “The Gift’, relates a mother’s response to her young child’s accidental pregnancy, sending her to France to a nunnery where the daughter Catherine gives birth to a girl with multiple abnormalities resisting acceptance by the would be foster parents, but resulting in a deep love from Catherine who nourishes her child, eventually returning to her US home where her mother and father represent the spectrum of acceptance of both their daughter and the deformed child. The story is adorned with a tender image by artist Peter Healy whose art is seen frequently in this collection, including the two graphic novels and the novella ‘Sister Carrie.’

The stories address characters who must address problems, and explores presentation, cogitation, and resolution in a manner that reflects Coles' keen insight and philosophy as well as his ability to tersely create a scenario that is credible and engaging. The scope of issues presented as well as the skill of the author’s prose once again establishes the stature of William H Coles as an artist of importance.

Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.

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