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Variations on a Theme with Harmonica: stories Paperback – January 18, 2011

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 42 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (January 18, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1456537857
  • ISBN-13: 978-1456537852
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,422,155 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Cheryl Snell is the author of ten books of fiction and poetry, and has published over four hundred poems, stories, and book reviews online and in print. A multiple Best of the Net and Pushcart Prize nominee, her work was selected by Dorianne Laux for a recent Sundress Best of the Net Anthology, and she won the Lopside Press competition for Prisoner's Dilemma, poetry inspired by game theory. She cooks in the Indian idiom and plays a mean classical piano, and collaborates frequently with her sister, Janet Snell, an expressionist painter..

More About the Author

Cheryl Snell is a classical pianist from a family of scientists and visual artists. To view a natural law in the light of different disciplines is an ongoing source of inspiration in her writing, she says, and one critic identified her true subject as the conflation of the mortal and the immortal. Snell's books include novels and poetry. Published widely online and in print, she won the Lopside Press competition for Prisoner's Dilemma, and has had work included in the Sundress Best of the Net Anthology and The Centrifugal Eye Anthology. She is a multiple Pushcart Prize nominee.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By S. Deeth TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 6, 2011
Format: Paperback
Some short stories tell simple tales to immediate effect. Others draw the reader deeper, leaving a lingering taste on the tongue or haunting music in the air. Cheryl Snell's tales in this collection belong to that second type. Bounded at both ends by the song of a harmonica, the author creates vividly real and wounded characters. There's Roger, falling to twin temptations, beginning a tune but never quite ending it as the heat wave passes through. There's Zoe, filling her mind with facts and detail like Novocain to hide her pain. A fat sister recalls how she became who she is then finds it isn't shape that defines her after all. A mother is still a child and another mother's maybe falling in love.

Cheryl Snell creates scenes and memories like poetry, filling the senses and drawing the reader in. Stories flow through the eyes of her characters, telling truths they've failed to see, and blossoming each into singular shapes of honesty. What matters? People matter, a combination of how they see themselves and their relationships, a vivid mixture of different layers of existence.

Hurt birds, popsicles, harmonica's song--like elements of a well-written tune the refrains repeat through these stories making this truly a collection to savor, not just a random grouping of random tales. If you want short and simple, these stories aren't for you. But if you want those deep lingering tones, a harmonica's birdsong haunting the basement's gloom, this collection's for you.

Disclosure: I was lucky enough to obtain a free ecopy of this book in a special offer.
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Writers are often asked where their ideas come from. A more telling question might be what form -- poems, novels, stories short and long -- those ideas shape themselves into. Cheryl Snell's VARIATIONS ON A THEME WITH HARMONICA is a deftly crafted chapbook that draws on the nature of improvisation. Experimental in form, it sheds light on the shape-shifting nature of fictional characters.
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