“The author, David-Michael Harding, definitely has mastered the technique of creating a good story out of straw, you might say. Quoting Harding, ‘Most novels begin their lives as short stories. Writing, much like any gift, skill, habit, or hope, is strengthened through practice, training, and exercise. The short story is the stretching and dedication to a running regime long before the marathon. It is the repetition of scales on the piano, years before the recital.’
“The Cats of Savonne” is the completely abridged’ collection of eight of his short stories and each story had a moral or point to make. Since they spread over a wide range of events and points of view, the reader can decide which he prefers, if he has a preference.
1. The title piece, “The Cats of Savone,” a tale of prison life that was both brutal and stripped the inmates of the slightest sense of self-worth. I felt it was the best story for it showed the brutal, barren life of long-term inmates, whose lives were broadened by the little love they found when invaded by a pregnant female cat who had four kittens. Even the Warden’s life was changed and the insight into the situation and the actions were so realistically portrayed, that it left an emotional impression.
2. “My Boo Radley” was the story of a major league pitcher, forced to stay hidden from the outside world because he carried terrible facial scars and lost an eye. The story tells how he helped a good pitcher, who was still a high school lad, to throw certain curve balls. I did not like this story as much as I felt this high school boy should have overcome his inability to cope with this man’s deformities, which was much of the story. The rest of the story was incidental, although good, but the weakness in this young man left a bad taste in my mouth for in real life, if he had any backbone, he would have overcome it.
3. “Black Men in Bright Blue” described the bravery of Southern women in their risky actions to maintain parts of the Underground Railroad, but also clearly spoke to the terrible punishment a slave could sustain even for a minor offense.
4. ”The Jazz Bridge” was an interesting sketch of people in a small city devoting part of their lives to jazz music, originating through Black musicians.
5. St. Alden's was a science fiction story that probably would appeal to Young Adults as everything about it lay in the area of fantasy
6. “Junket” was a lesson in how a man who has always been told he was inadequate, allowed himself to believe that and through the years when the Government reclassified him and paid him more, he just accepted it, but then one day he decided to follow his dream and meet some women and visit places in Las Vegas for which he has fifteen-year old ads. In his innocence he ran into an older woman who was also now a loser and they fulfill chinks in each other’s live. This is another one I truly enjoyed because of its humanity,
7. “Forever Beneath the Celtic Sea” was a story about the sinking of the Lusitania that illustrated conditions of war that caused reasonable people to follow unreasonable orders, but more so it gave insight into the suffering some of these military men experienced because of this also.
8. The final story was “The History of West Texas According to Henry Brass.” Two very interesting characters opened insight into the history of the Mexican War and its preparation of fighters for the following American Civil War.
This e-book was given to me by the author for an honest review.