Symphony of Stories

Fiction - Short Story/Novela
364 Pages
Reviewed on 03/07/2020
Buy on Amazon

This author participates in the Readers' Favorite Book Review Exchange Program, which is open to all authors and is completely free. Simply put, you agree to provide an honest review an author's book in exchange for the author doing the same for you. What sites your reviews are posted on (B&N, Amazon, etc.) and whether you send digital (eBook, PDF, Word, etc.) or hard copies of your books to each other for review is up to you. To begin, click the purple email icon to send this author a private email, and be sure to describe your book or include a link to your Readers' Favorite review page or Amazon page.

This author participates in the Readers' Favorite Book Donation Program, which was created to help nonprofit and charitable organizations (schools, libraries, convalescent homes, soldier donation programs, etc.) by providing them with free books and to help authors garner more exposure for their work. This author is willing to donate free copies of their book in exchange for reviews (if circumstances allow) and the knowledge that their book is being read and enjoyed. To begin, click the purple email icon to send this author a private email. Be sure to tell the author who you are, what organization you are with, how many books you need, how they will be used, and the number of reviews, if any, you would be able to provide.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite

Life is complex. Artists have attempted to unveil the meaning of life via different avenues of expression: music, art, literature, theater, dance. To some people, music is the ultimate medium of expression, a language all its own, a symphony of ideas, emotions, time and space eloquently well spent. While literature can flatly describe life, music can transcend it. Norman Weeks' collection of short stories, Symphony of Stories, brings music and literature into a comparative perspective. He explains in his introduction: “This comparison of music to literature is an invidious one. Music liberates the emotions, literature suppresses them. The former delights the senses, the latter estranges them. Music cheers solitude, literature turns solitude into a vice. Music is communal, literature anti-social.”

While, as a musician, composer, and author (not necessarily in that order), I can value his perspective and comparison, I’m not sure I totally agree with him. However, Norman’s collection of short stories creates a fascinating musical nuance in words, a symphony of literary proportions. Now, even his symphony defies the natural order of composition, as his four movements, Andante, Adagio, Scherzo, and Allegro, are not the standard order of the movements within a symphony; the fast, slow, fast, very fast order one expects. However, within each ‘movement’, each of his stories unravels the human condition in a way that parallels a musical composition. Like the first story, “Reflection”, a slow walk through one boy/man’s life that follows a very musical ternary (ABA) form. The boy learned what not to do, became a man and returned to his roots only to find that those who had taught him what not to do, the priest, the teacher, the father, all did what they told him not to do. And the boy, now a man, returns to his family and sees himself in the mirror. What does he see? A very deep, introspective story.

However, as the author compares literature to music, the story has no sound. There is emotion but in a planar, non-sensical form. The collection of stories is very thought-provoking on many levels and I, for one, appreciate thoroughly the allusion of this collection as a symphonic masterpiece.