Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Book Review: The Light, The Dark & Ember Between by J W Nicklaus

Title: The Light, The Dark & Ember Between
Author: J.W. Nicklaus
Genre: Short Stories
Publisher: Bedside Books
Pages: 181 pages

About the Book

A collection of short stories, each a splinter’s reflection of the human condition, firmly centered upon our oft tenuous, sometimes tensile bond with Hope, and careening flirtation with Love.

Fifteen stories: From the wispy fog of a love lost at sea, to an orphaned child who delivers a present of her own during a war-torn Christmas. These stories are gentle reminders to each of us of what it is to be human, and certainly of our affinity for the slightest glint of Hope.

From One Washington Diner:The interior lights punched holes in the dead of night, and in the stillness I could hear the buzz of glowing neon from the sign above. I’d hoped there would be the slim chance of some distraction from the empty, laughing darkness that taunted me. Pinching the bridge of my nose between thumb and forefinger, I shuffled through the front door, greeted by the hostess/cashier/night manager, who apparently was thriving on the not-so-delicate thrush of caffeine. Her uniform bore the hallmarks of traditional diner-dom: bobby sox, her skirt hemline right around knee level, and wide, flat lapels on her blouse. She looked me over for all of two seconds before making
her vocal appraisal.

“Let me guess…can’t sleep?” Her voice was disarming, welcoming, like a puppy that jumps in your lap. Managing a frustrated grin I hoarsely replied, “That obvious?”

“Your eyes, your body language—yeah.” I should have had some snappy retort, but my mental haze precluded any such response and subsequently I let slip my small window of opportunity for any suitable comeback.
Instead, I yawned.

“Jeez, my only customer and I’m already boring you,” she blurted out. I thought she smirked, but couldn’t be certain in my unwillingly wakeful state. I glanced around the empty dining room and motioned from left to right. “Looks like you’re swamped. Should I come back later?”

Soft brown curls played upon her left shoulder as she turned her head slightly. “Early a.m. sarcasm—I like it. Sit wherever you like, I’m good at finding people in a crowd.” Even in my sleepless haze, I had to admit she was delightful.

“If you don’t mind, I’ll sit at the counter,” I croaked. “I’ll try not to be a bother.” Her hair gently fluttered as she shook her head. “Works for me. Cop a squat and I’ll be right with ya’.”

My mind was made up—she was indeed delightful, in a common denominator kind of way. Having never exceeded the mathematical scope of algebra during my academic career that suited me just fine.

The Light, The Dark and Ember Between is a collection of short stories.
Each story in The Light, The Dark, and Ember Between is set up quickly, so that the characters develop to make the stories pop.

J.W. Nicklaus is a wonderful colorful writer – the words make for beautiful musical stories. The stories are funny, serious and some are supernatural (didn’t like this one as well).

I liked most of the stories and will definitely pass this book on to my reading group. These are stories that that can be reread over and over, because the message that is hidden in each one is a gem. I do hope that there are more stories to come from this author.

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