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Reviewed by Michael Gardner for Readers' Favorite
Heites, Sheites & Itites by John C. West is a superb collection of short stories divided into two parts: stories about religion and stories about the human tendency to develop superstitions, particularly with objects. There’s a lot going on in this collection and every story is crammed full of so many ideas, I can only mention the ones I liked best. In the first half of the collection, and despite allegorical storytelling being unfashionable in modern literature, The Believer stood out for me as one of the more powerful stories. It’s a visceral story told in two halves: people living without hope and what happens when they are given hope. Likewise, The Lottery Ticket in the second half of the collection is also about hope. It hits hard in a different way, as most people will have been in Bob’s shoes, putting their hope for a better future into six numbers for the weekly lottery draw.
You could argue the common theme throughout Heites, Sheites, & Itites is the human need to understand why we’re here and to personify the powers that shape and control the Universe. I particularly appreciated how each story presents its ideas in a manner that allows the reader to make their own judgments. It’s expert, evocative storytelling and I’d recommend pausing between each story to allow the ideas to resonate. John C. West’s writing is first class: powerful, emotive, and thought-provoking. Every story wrangles our desire to understand and put a face on the metaphysical. Overall, a rich and rewarding read.