IMPRESSIONS, A Collection of Flash Fiction and Short Stories. An e-book by Dan Groat.
The collection referred to consists of 55 individual stories, many of vignette or even simply 2-3 page length. The content ranges from a comment on a single idea of questionable interest/importance/relevance to more extensive thoughts, considerations, ruminations, and philosophy. Subjects include racial relations, the second amendment, religion, thoughts on ‘being’, and remembrances of ‘things past’. In the treatment of each individual account the author moves from simple descriptions to the use of humor, poignancy, parody, fantasy and other prominent human emotions including thoughts on basic survival. Stories this reviewer found to be particularly interesting for one or another reason were numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, 11, 13, 14, 26, 28, 45, 46, 51, 52, and 54.

Discussion: In the author’s lifetime he has participated in a host of labors ranging from menial to meaningful, all of which no doubt have contributed to his approach to life and to his writing. And as with his selection of labors, the subjects chosen about which to write demonstrate equal eclecticism. For this reader the collection as a whole covered an unusual array of subjects ranging from those seemingly lacking in a ‘theme’ to other, well-couched, thought provoking discussions.

3* Some interesting/amusing/provocative stories but for this reader an uneven presentation.

Molto Mayhem

Molto Mayhem
ISBN: 9781537184081, is an amusingly presented story set in Italy in e-book by Deanne Wilstead.

Lucia is a 10-year-old visiting family in Italy with her mother and father when they tragically are killed in an automobile accident. She is desolate and will speak to no one but only wants to return to her home in San Francisco. The best efforts of her uncle, Gianni who also is trying to console his wife Cristina who is equally devastated because of her love of her sister and even their young son Mario’s attempts to aid are futile. A decision ultimately is made by the Head of the Family. Nonno, the grandfather, when he decides to take the young Lucia home to America and leave the eminently successful construction business in the hands of his son Gianni. In America, he successfully opens a grocery supply where Lucia helps by stocking the shelves and other menial tasks. She has many ideas for business expansion but Nonno, she is convince, would not consider any such ideas,. Fifteen years pass and Lucia now has returned to Italy to visit the family where she supposedly is to learn to ‘cook Italian’. Many changes have taken place in the family during the ensuing period. Gianni was spectacularly inept at running the business; Cristina, exhibited an adeptness and now runs the construction company successfully; Gianni has become a Chef Par Excellence, and Mario has gained a significant other named Jaime. All of these changes the family believes must be kept from Nonno because of his strong belief that women do not properly belong in positions of authority and other traditional views. Additionally entering the plot is Aiden, a young Englishman whose Godmother Francisca had left him her Villa della Fontana. He and Lucia meet. The young man’s villa unfortunately is in a state of almost complete disrepair. Cristina takes on the restoration project which is hampered by the loss of an icon from the property and must be replaced in order for the work to be completed and the chaotic situation gradually progresses through a number of related and unrelated issues. Suddenly, Nonno returns and eventually a satisfactory conclusion is reached.

Discussion: The author has exhibited an apparent love for a very provincial Italy that most regrettably like Spain, France, Mexico and similar largely has disappeared. Hopefully, it still may exist in some rural and/or ‘out-of-the-way’ sections of the country and can provide the wistfully charming thoughts/reminiscences of a type of people and way of life once prevalent in these beautiful countries. She has been able to capture this unsophisticated social behavior quite appealingly and amusingly.

5* Appealing story of unsophisticated social behavior seldom encountered today.