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Flowering and Other Stories Paperback – May 22, 2012

4.5 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

5-star reviews for Flowering and Other Stories, a 16-story short-story collection 

Do yourself a favor and buy two copies. One for yourself and one for someone you care about.
Bob Poole

Tom Bentley has a very vivid and picturesque way of writing.  I was easily drawn into each story. The stories were absorbing, captivating and made for enjoyable reading.
Cecillia - Goodreads review

Tom has a way of phrasing things, of animating words, of holding images hostage to his whip of ink that make reading his short stories a physical as well as emotional, visual and mental experience.
Becky Blanton

From the Author

Flowering is a collection of stories built around the themes of loss, social disruption, mistaken judgment and stumbling redemption. From a shoplifting sociopathic genius to a card-dealing witch offering a mystical experience at the blackjack tables to a harsh drunk who turns out to be a malignant--yet chillingly accurate--soothsayer, the story's lead characters are complex and not always charming, but their colors are memorably bright. 

Location also figures significantly in other stories: settings in suburban Seattle, a bleak Arizona desert town and a tiny cottage in New Orleans all draw deeply on the native textures of their territories. From flash fiction to richly woven tales, Flowering invites you into distinct worlds, all built on story.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 314 pages
  • Publisher: AuthorMike Ink; 0012- edition (May 22, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0984580174
  • ISBN-13: 978-0984580170
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,830,408 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By B. Poole on August 20, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
You would think that after having published a couple of books and written thousands upon thousands of words for publication over the last 45 years, I would be able to adequately express myself in a book review. But, I've been staring at a blank screen for weeks now trying to summon the sentences that will do justice to "Flowering and Other Stories."

First, know that I bought the book and then let it sit for a couple of weeks. I know the author, Tom Bentley and I know that he the magical ability to use words to make me laugh, bring me to tears, and give me a warm glow inside. I know he can do all that and more. But, I wondered, did he do that with "Flowering and Other Stories." And, I was tentative about picking it up and starting down the path that I hoped would lead me to all these things. Or, would I be disappointed?

Finally, I picked it up one afternoon. I didn't set it back down until late that evening - after I had read it from cover-to-cover. It was all that I hoped it would be and more. Yes, I laughed, cried, was amazed, and experienced emotions from joy to anger. Tom can do that with his words. And, he's done it with this collection of short stories.

Do yourself a favor and buy two copies. One for yourself and one for someone you care about.

And, know that my simple words - my review - don't do it justice.
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Format: Paperback
I can't get the images out of my mind. Tom has a way of phrasing things, of animating words, of holding images hostage to his whip of ink that make reading his short stories a physical as well as emotional, visual and mental experience. In other words -- his writing rocks.

I can't talk about my favorite parts of these stories without giving away the plot twists, but suffice it to say I'll never assume certain things ever again. And while I love trains and totally understand the power of standing alongside one as it blasts by, I won't look at trains the same way either.

Tom has that rare sense of being able to find the fleeting thought, the one we bury or slam the door on when it tries to come inside our consciousness. He welcomes those thoughts in, milks them for their horror or weirdness and turns them into something we, if we allow ourselves to see it, recognize as something we'd all say, or think if we allowed ourselves to.

Great read and worth the price and then some.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Often in a book of short stories, I enjoy one or two of the stories a great deal and find the rest just okay or even boring. Mr Bentley's collection gets a 4.5 from me---I found the majority of the stories to be very good reads indeed. I enjoyed that the stories, while framed around a small set of themes (loss and the consequences of poor choices being the primary elements), were set in a number of different time frames and different physical/cultural settings. Although many of the stories ended exactly as you think they might, the journey is the thing rather than the story's payoff. The stories made me cry, smile, and try to avert my eyes. The prose style is excellent and effortless, making for a a really good read for people who enjoy short stories about generally less-than-cheery topics.

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
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Format: Paperback
I received this book in exchange for an honest review.

I wasn't quite sure what to expect with this collection before reading it, or even while reading it. The stories twist and ramble, but all that does is pull you further in. While all the characters are different - mannerisms, motivations, backgrounds, etc - they're all real and relatable. Definitely an interesting read.
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Format: Kindle Edition
I have really been getting into short stories again (maybe because, like this collection, I have been getting a lot of them free for an unbiased review). I often have a lot of time to kill between appointments, and short stories are perfect for keeping me entertained when I am out of the office and sitting around waiting for this person or that person. This collections was really good,

Really nicely written stuff here. I particularly liked the one about rhinos in the desert (which was set in Arizona and not really about rhinos--but doesn't it make you want to read it?), although, given the bad stuff that happens in some of the stories, I was holding my breath waiting for it to go really badly wrong. Whew. Didn't. Some did. Others were much more hopeful (gotta love a story with kittens that make a very sad person realize life can get better). The stories weren't simple, but they were very easy to read. I would recommend them to anyone who enjoys short literary fiction.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"If you are going to hell, go then, but go gracefully--don't arrive in a Rambler."

That's a line from one of my favorite stories ("Presence") in this strange and wonderful collection.

Actually, FLOWERING happens to be the second book of fiction by author Tom Bentley that I've added to my library because he knows how to take a reader to hell, and back, in style. There's no stodgy Rambler (or any rambling at all) on this unforgettable road trip into some dark and winding corners of the author's imagination.

Since author Becky Blanton, in her review, so aptly described his way of "animating words" and "holding images hostage to his whip of ink," I'll focus on another dimension of his writing that I also really enjoy.

It's the way Tom develops, and allows the reader a scintillating glimpse into, his characters' internal lives. From the 6-year-old dairy product thief to an 84-year-old woman trying to steal a little more time--and all the secret rhino-lovers, wacko roommates and eternally damned Catholics in-between--his characters deliver.

And so I'd encourage you to get this book delivered to your mailbox... or, as I did, to a handy e-reader.
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