Book Review, Fiction

ARC Review: The Unbelievable Death of Joseph Goldberg

The Unbelievable Death of Joseph Goldberg Book Cover The Unbelievable Death of Joseph Goldberg
Oliver Franks
March 8, 2018

"A unique collection of death, voodoo-magic and strange things. Joseph Goldberg is the wrinkled old man you see wrapped up in a fraying scarf and dusty trilby hat, hobbling along the seafront promenade in the dead of winter. He's grizzled, cynical, bitter, and swears like a trooper. In his defence, he didn't lead the life he wanted, and his closet is full of skeletons. Then, one cold day, something amazing happens. Something so mind blowing, Joseph hardly knows what to do with himself. Don't judge him too harshly - what would you do if you found yourself transformed into a flock of starlings? Purchase this collection now to read 'The Unbelievable Death of Joseph Goldberg', plus three other dark, comic and often fantastical short stories from debut author Oliver Franks."

Review Copy send by the author.
I’ve stated before that I don’t read a lot of short stories, but now and again a change of pace is good.
One thing before we start. There’s no actual voodoo is this book, so I’m not sure what the cover is on about.

The Unbelievable Death of Joseph

The first story is about an old man who dies alone on a pier and gets turned into a folk of starlings. The story is about reminiscing about a life with regrets and getting revenge in a small and unconventional way. The author captures what its like to be a flock of bird is a beautiful and surprising way.
Although there is some funny imagery, the story has a melancholic tone. And the colloquial use of language might be accurate, but it did feel like it clashed with the magical feel.

The Chair

The second story is about a military experiment that has foreseen and unforeseened consequences.
This was a well-rounded story, although the ending felt fast for someone who is used to reading longer pieces. The thing that makes a short story good is how much it makes you think afterwards. And this one certainly made me think. There are a lot of questions left open and I would have loved to know more.

The Dark Matter of Dreams

Story number three is a bit metaphysical for my taste. A dream journey. I’m not fond of extreme surrealism stories, so I can’t comment much other than to say that the narrator issues with women are a bit weird.

Without the Simple Science

The fourth story is the shortest, but also the best in my opinion. A deep and punchy tale about friends meeting for one last time. It manages so much layers, history and concepts in very few words. Defiantly my favourite of the four.
Overall a well written and intriguing collection and I will keep an eye out for more of this author’s work.

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