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Cynically Sweet (Booklikes)

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Red Wheelbarrow

Red Wheelbarrow - Terry R. Barca Red Wheelbarrow by Terry R. Barca is a selection of short stories. There are a variety of subjects, many of which have an interesting premise. I think the thing I like most about many of the stories is that quite a few of them are ordinary people and the plots uncover what they might do in a situation. For example, a found money type of scenario; some of the stories feature the characters finding a bit of money and their intentions are questioned. It doesn't necessarily ask me what I would do in the situations presented to me, but Barca's characters are so lifelike and relatable that I ask myself anyway. What might I do if I were to find a bit of money? What would I do if I found people trying to steal my car? Admittedly, they're not the most original story ideas on the planet, but the author imparts a lot of stylisation to his work so it's still quite unique.

There are a few negative things about the book, I must admit. In cases, there are minor spelling mistakes (desert instead of dessert, page 15; "during the desert course") and a few areas with missing bits of punctuation. Though I appreciate the photographs included with each story, I don't think that they're all necessarily relevant. In some cases, there are also bits which aren't exactly clear to the reader. An example of this is the story beginning on page 161, Never Say Never. It features some sort of private investigator, taking on a client. They're to photograph an affair in a restaurant. However, once the prints are revealed, we find a mysterious reflection of someone in a mirror behind the photographer. I think we're meant to assume that something nasty happened, "it got messy after that"; however it's not quite obvious. It kind of feels unfinished, much like some of the other stories. A lot of them are concluded with throwaway endings, summarised in only a few lines. I'm not angry about it, obviously; the stories are short so it's not like I've invested too much time in them. However, it does feel like some of the stories could be expanded to include better details.

Overall, I appreciate that the stories are quite whimsical in nature. Even though not every portion is relevant, that flaw makes it feel so natural; it's like a real person rambling on about points in their life in a sense. I think the main thing that bothers me about the book is that the stories are quite contained and we're meant to make the rest up ourselves. I think that some of these stories could be lengthened well into novella (or even a full length novel) form. For example, the titular story might make an interesting full length book; there's so much untouched information that we don't have. The stories that I particularly enjoyed were the private investigator sort. There's nothing particularly fascinating or unusual about them, but the author writes them well. So I also think that those would work well as a longer story. I think that there are some stories that will stay with me and I do intend to read more of the author's work.

I won a copy of this book via Goodreads Giveaways and these are just my honest thoughts on it.