Short Stories, Tall Tales, and Surprise Endings

An Armchair Map for Vicarious Adventure

Fiction - Short Story/Novela
260 Pages
Reviewed on 11/06/2019
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Asher Syed for Readers' Favorite

Short Stories, Tall Tales, and Surprise Endings: An Armchair Map for Vicarious Adventure by Blake Daniels Prescott, MD, CM is a collection of the author's written work, all accompanied by illustrations that have been drawn by him. With thirty in total, each story in this anthology reads as a stand-alone, and they vary in length and substance as distinctly as they do in tone and tenor. Along with the work presented for the first time now, Prescott includes pieces that have been previously published, such as Bad Luck Henry, which made its debut in the Atlantic Salmon Journal in 1971. This is fitting as it's a story about a fishing guide who might just be able to finally drop an unfortunate nickname.

Short Stories, Tall Tales, and Surprise Endings by Blake Daniels Prescott, MD, CM offers readers a lavish buffet of the author's lifetime of work and there is a little bit of something for everyone. My favorite is Four Lies in Cairo, where a group of tourists in Egypt discusses why they don't believe the locals regarding how some of the antiquities were built (and later destroyed), reflecting on an overall lack of honesty and then being surprised in an ironic way. Irony is an underlying theme in a lot of Prescott's work, and the blend of humor and intelligent writing balances some of the lighter fare out well. I loved the illustrations, which corresponded with the title of each story. They're raw and real, and add a personal touch to the book as a whole. This is a good compilation and an enjoyable read. Recommended.

K.C. Finn

Short Stories, Tall Tales, and Surprise Endings is a collected work of fiction penned by author Blake Daniels Prescott, subtitled “An Armchair Map for Vicarious Adventure”. True to its word, the thirty-one short stories within the pages of this adventurous volume span all manner of different subject matter, but all of them have a fable atmosphere that narrates far-flung action and seeks to draw its readers into those far-off worlds within. The themes range from traditional folklore to cultural and historical tales, worldwide capers, animal encounters and one thematically different story which takes a look at modern politics and medicine.

Overall, this collection of intriguing and entertaining tales is a great coffee table book that readers can pick up to discover something new each time. Author Blake Daniels Prescott injects a strong sense of narration into each story by way of his wit and observations, making the narrator a central part in the telling of each tale. As such, the narration occasionally intrudes on the faraway feel, but the content is very well written and fans of strong narration are sure to enjoy that. Thematically speaking, the stories give great variety in their setting and atmosphere, with characters who serve clear purposes for their plots and give intelligent nods to old heroes of folklore and fairy tales from years gone by. The illustrations provided add to this nostalgic and adventurous feel. I would certainly recommend Short Stories, Tall Tales, and Surprise Endings for readers seeking a large and satisfying story collection on diverse themes.