Friday 27 December 2019

The Last Ugly Person And Other Stories - Roger Thomas

The Last Ugly Person And Other Stories
Roger Thomas

Ignatius Press
ISBN 9780898703955
eISBN 9781681495125

I have read and greatly appreciated most of the novels by Roger Thomas. But this collection of short stories impressed me even more than the novels. Four incredibly powerful and moving stories. Each story had an immediate impact upon me. And After racing through the book, I went back and reread it at a slower pace. Of with a collection of short stories there is a favorite or a least favorite. That was not the case with the four in this collection. The stories are:

The Last Ugly Person
The Purging
I Have Slaved for You

The stories are very different from each other. And could easily be classified as different genres. Starting with a futuristic dystopian tale, an epic military story, an allegory reminiscent to The Pilgrim’s Progress, and concluding with a micro fiction western story. 

For those of you who skip over the forwards, in the Foreword Ralph McInerny states:

“Very practical and very theoretical people are often impatient with the fact that seemingly mature adults spend a good deal of their time following the activities of imaginary agents, reading stories about events that never really happened to characters who do not exist. We all have moments when we sympathize with this Scrooge-like reaction to fiction, but such moments pass, our good sense is restored, and we turn with eager anticipation to such stories as these by Roger B. Thomas. If the case of the consumer of fiction is questioned, what must be said of the writer who labors over his stories and clearly regards what he is doing with the utmost seriousness?”

He also declares:

“All this is a pretty heavy way of putting before the reader the remarkable fictions of Roger B. Thomas. Any writer develops a distinctive voice, an angle of vision, a way of showing us who and what we are. There are techniques of story telling which show up more or less alike in all stories. Nowadays a bewildering number of people who have mastered those techniques and can produce serviceable facsimiles of stories. Without a distinctive voice or vision, however, mere mastery of the technique is minimally satisfying. I think Roger B. Thomas has a new and distinctive voice.”

And I completely agree with him. Roger Thomas has incredible skill and gift in the art of storytelling. The stories vary greatly in length. From one at 1000 words, to a novella. Another as McInerny stated could be a short novel. Each of the stories are masterfully written. If Thomas’s short stories are this well written, I can only hope he publishes another collection of them. There are lots of fiction I read that I know I will never read again. This collection even though I have read it twice, I have left it on my device to circle back and read it again in another few months.

This is an excellent collect of short stories. If you enjoy Roger’s other works I am sure you will enjoy this. And if you have not read any of the novels this will show the amazing breadth of his skill. So pick it up I am sure you will enjoy most of not all of the stories!

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2019 Catholic Reading Plan!

Books by Roger Thomas:
The Accidental Marriage
From Afar
The Last Ugly Person: And Other Stories

The Ghosts of Midgard Manor And Other Stories
The Crown Jewels of Undlar

Watchful Sky Series:
Under the Watchful Sky
Rising Darkness
The Wounded Land
The Tattered Web

Author profile and interview with Roger Thomas.

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