A Unique Collection of Short Stories & Flash Fiction - Book 5

Fiction - Anthology
190 Pages
Reviewed on 06/25/2022
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite

I love this anonymous opening quote: “Sometimes you will never know the true value of a moment until it becomes a memory.” How true. Life is like that: full of auspicious moments that flitter past almost undetected until, somewhere along the way, one of these ‘auspicious moments’ becomes ingrained in our memories as something grand, even epic in proportions. As Theodore Jerome Cohen writes in his opening comments to his recent book, Mementos: A Unique Collection of Short Stories & Flash Fiction (Book 5), “As writers, aren’t these memories – both the physical and the “mementos of the mind” – the essence of our works, the prompts we use to spin the words and phrases into literary tapestries our readers can use to discover something about life, a bit about us, and, in a process, perhaps, a little about themselves?” Like his other anthologies, this book contains a vast array of genres, from memoir and history to fantasy and science fiction to murder mystery and so much more.

Theodore Jerome Cohen has a clever mind, one that projects a story from even the simplest prompts: like the brief conversation between two women at a skating rink, the older woman explaining how she always came during the Christmas season with her friends to skate and see the big tree all decorated. Only now, the visit is a memory of happier times: “I’m here to keep their memories alive and remind myself of those simpler times when we didn’t have a care in the world, our futures looked bright, and nothing seemed more important than the bonds of friendship that held us together.” Simpler times and good friends; isn’t that really what life is all about. I think this little flash story, Tree, is my favorite from this collection. From the words of an articulate storyteller, sit back and enjoy a serene collection of mementos and choose your own personal favorite from the variety.

Astrid Iustulin

Theodore Jerome Cohen has written a new collection of short stories for readers who love this genre. Mementos: A Unique Collection of Short Stories & Flash Fiction has reached its fifth volume, and as in Cohen's other books, also in the present volume, the stories are inspired by a photograph. Although there are some longer (relatively speaking) stories in Mementos, most of the tales included here are very short, but still long enough to allow the reader to know the characters and their thoughts and to appreciate the writer's creativity and talent.

There is always something special in Theodore Jerome Cohen's books. I consider myself a fan of his works, and every time I read his short stories, I know that I will not be disappointed. If I think that every story begins with a photograph and, after reading it, I stop and remember where it started, I am surprised at how far it is possible to go thanks to a vivid imagination. This is just one of the qualities of Mementos. The other is that, in addition to the ability to write stories starting from an image, Cohen is also inspired by settings and characters that have nothing in common with each other. This makes Mementos an extremely varied book, while each story is a different gem. If you are not familiar with Cohen's short stories yet, I highly recommend Mementos; if you are already a fan, I do not need to tell you that they will live up to your expectations.

K.C. Finn

Mementos: A Unique Collection of Short Stories & Flash Fiction is a collected anthology of works of fiction and non-fiction across a variety of themes and genres. It is the fifth volume in the series penned by author Theodore Jerome Cohen and is suitable for the general reading audience. The book is a collection of forty pieces of flash fiction each inspired by a photograph, the result being an eclectic selection of writings that are aimed at covering a broad selection of styles and tastes and therefore having something for everyone.

It’s hard to comprehensively review such a diverse work within the word count that these reviews are limited to, as each of the entries feels worthy of a review in its own right in order to do them justice. I will say that it’s a testament to author Theodore Jerome Cohen’s talents as a writer that he’s able to visit so many different styles and genres in one collection and leave this reviewer struggling to identify a weak link among them. I adored the methodology behind the writings, each beginning with a photograph and then the author extrapolating from the image. It allows for a personal insight into the writer to see the source material for the story and then read what they picked out, what assumptions they made, what interpretations they made, and what they felt when they looked at the image. Overall, Mementos is a series of books with a great deal of mileage, now on its fifth volume and showing no signs of running out of steam.