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Reviewed by Jon Michael Miller for Readers' Favorite
In the thought-provoking and enjoyably engaging Collection of Short Stories and Essays: “Of Humans and Animals” by Peggy Hinaekian, you will meet an amazing array of characters from a variety of locales and points of view. Direct, guileless, with ironic humor, Peggy Hinaekian demonstrates her virtuosity as a writer and a visual artist. There are 29 easy-to-read and much-to-think-about stories, most preceded by enigmatic Picasso-like drawings, an ideal volume to keep by your side or on your coffee table to fill those idle spaces in your daily life. There is even a piece written by a zoo gorilla named Bella, and two poems penned by house cats. And every presentation opens an area that we often think about but seldom have the pluck to express.
A common theme is sexual unease, whether in marriage or simply the malaise of relationships turned tepid without romance and adventure, of bored partners quietly seeking replacements, of erotic unfulfillment. It might be a man thinking about picking up a woman in a coffee shop, or vice-versa. Or a lonely traveler, or a disgruntled housewife, or an erotic dream. Nothing very graphic, but strong feelings, a woman seeking her “Rhett Butler,” or a wealthy man searching for a suitable mother for his imagined child. There are several child personae too. But every story is a challenging gem of frank insight into our tightly held but seldom spoken viewpoints. Taken all together, we find a fine writer speaking profoundly about the loneliness and yearning of being alive. The slices of life in Collection of Short Stories and Essays: “Of Humans and Animals” by Peggy Hinaekian is like a huge bouquet of hidden truth that will amuse and sometimes sadden the reader, but always enliven one's inner joy at exuberantly expressed reality. Every story hits its target.