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My favourite was The Letters, which is a quite disturbing story of a man in a rather scary predicament with a postman (of sorts). It was gritty and had me wincing as I read it. Other highlights include The Graveyard Shifters which was a very unique story and also very funny. And the 75th Last Meal was a fascinating "what's going to happen here?" tale about a man on death row. I liked the fact too that a few of the stories openly pay their respects to the likes of Poe, Dickens, Dostoevsky and Dorothy Parker.
Some of them are very short but fun, like Pus and The Lighter. While for the thinking reader there are slightly longer tales with clever ideas such as The Nature of a Second Hand and Ten Days in the Extra Life.
If you want a book that you can pick up once a day and read a short story that's usually fun or thought provoking then you can't go too far wrong with this. There's something for all tastes. Some you might love, some you might not, but they're all interesting. And as an added bonus, the author has added some notes at the back of the book to explain what he was thinking when he wrote each piece. This was a pleasant and interesting discovery when I reached it.
Well worth a read.
I thoroughly enjoyed the book from cover to cover.
I didn't read this collection in order the table of contents. Rather, I jumped around. My first choice was "The Subtle Teachings of Mr. Rifa." Of course, I connected with this character right away, but I don't think it was only because he was a teacher. There was something I understood about him, his emotions, and the construction of the story.
The next story I read was "Failing Upwards", a hilarious comedy of errors for a poor schmoe who, in the end, lives to see another day after a calamitous interaction with a staircase. Readers are also witnesses in Scarlato's story world, and one can't help but watch this protagonist without both feeling sorry for him and laughing at his expense.
But perhaps the most imaginative story was "Your Escape Plan Now"--a set of directions for a corporate prisoner to make a break. Here, the reader is the traveling companion, even the participant, rather than the observer. Interestingly, Scarlato wrote the story in one sitting, and the reader certainly feels like he/she is on a rollercoaster. I couldn't help but wonder about this intended reader of the plans--does he make it out (and it felt like they were written for a "he")? What if he is snagged somewhere? How do we know? It is up to our own imaginations to continue or end the story as we see it.
Don't like those? You have sixteen more to choose from. The book even comes with author's notes at the very end, which I recommend saving for last, to give the reader an inside look at Sacrlato's insights and inspirations. Overall, the collection is a solid indicator of a writer who is well on his way.
Give For What It's Worth a try, especially if you are a fan of the short story genre, science fiction, or the human condition.
My favorite story was Your Escape Plan Now (which I was floored to find out Roberto wrote it in one sitting!). It is basically a document that's been written by a mysterious co-worker, entailing the most Gillian-esque escape plan out of a factory that's probably ever been written. I marveled at this world that was painted for us, the urgency of the escape plan, and how surreal this world he describes to us is. And all the while I was reading it, it made me wonder if there was character actually following this plan, who could get through all the bizarre obstacles to break free? Or was this a document lying on a forgotten floor of some building, never to be read? Did the person it was intended for follow through? Shrug it off? Did he attempt it but couldn't succeed?
All the stories are quick reads, with a breathless array of voices, characters, and situations, no two alike. Roberto is a writer with a great deal of promise, and a wellspring of imagination.