A Unique Collection of Short Stories & Flash Fiction - Book 6 (Mementos Anthologies)

Fiction - Anthology
181 Pages
Reviewed on 02/25/2023
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Maria Victoria Beltran for Readers' Favorite

An engaging read, Mementos: A Unique Collection of Short Stories & Flash Fiction is the sixth book in the Mementos Anthologies by Theodore Jerome Cohen. It consists of forty-four titles, most of which are inspired by unusual photographs found on the internet. The one exception is inspired by a computer-generated photograph produced by an artificial intelligence (AI) system. The book also contains excerpts from the author’s thriller series featuring NYPD Detective Louis Martelli. It opens with my favorite story in the collection, a poignant non-fiction story titled Going Home, inspired by a picture of The Milwaukee Electric Railway and Light Streetcar 361. Time in a Bottle, inspired by a picture of a man smoking a cigar while looking out the window is another of my favorites as they both evoke strong emotions that are familiar to many of us.

Reading Theodore Jerome Cohen’s aptly titled Mementos was simply a delight. I love the variety and surprise of his stories inspired by photographs, the souvenirs with which we remember a person or an event close to our hearts. This is where Cohen’s creativity shines through because although the stories start with photographs, the plots that follow are not always what one would expect. Compressing an entire story into the space of just a few paragraphs, Cohen doesn’t fail to deliver one surprise after another. His stories always have interesting characters and well-established settings. Sometimes subtle, at other times palpable, the tension is masterfully woven into the plot. This is a quick and entertaining read filled with intriguing imagery, fascinating characters, and stylish prose.

Astrid Iustulin

Theodore Jerome Cohen presents his readers with a sixth volume in his Mementos Anthologies series with Mementos: A Unique Collection of Short Stories and Flash Fiction. As in the other books written by this exceptional author, it is a photograph that inspires the story, and then it depends on the writer's imagination to bring the image to life. Cohen has the knack of doing this and displays it once again by writing stories that are usually around 250 words long, although on occasion he also writes a few pages. In all of these, readers will be able to appreciate Cohen's style of writing and be fascinated by the often paradoxical endings that his short stories and flash fiction have.

It has been a while since I read a book by Theodore Jerome Cohen, but this author has always been one of my favorites, and Mementos made me remember why. Cohen always surprises his readers with his creativity, wit, and unexpected endings. Most of them blow your mind, and I have to confess that I usually cannot wait to read how the story ends. Whether it is flash fiction or stories that are a bit longer, readers will be satisfied with what they read. I recommend this collection to everyone who loves ingenious and brilliant authors who can entertain them with unforgettable tales. I am sure Cohen will become one of their favorite writers, too.

Sheena Monnin

Mementos by Theodore Jerome Cohen is a series of adventurous, fun, and lively short stories. Each story is inspired or supported by a photograph that in some way, directly or indirectly, relates to the story. Themes of childhood, home, friends, love, and the oddities of life are explored with wit and just the right attention to detail that one would expect to find in a short story. Each is written to pull on your mind and heart, sometimes with humor and other times with a sense of loss or nostalgia as it delivers a deeper message, one which invites you to ponder its meaning at the end. This technique of drawing you in is a wonderful skill that has been used well in this collection of stories.

I love how Theodore Jerome Cohen jumps right into the action of each story in Mementos with very little setup, allowing you to feel drawn into the action right away. Some of the stories, such as the one about the carnival or the horse and Grandpa Joe, reveal life lessons in an uplifting way while others, including the one about the private investigator, cause you to pause and think about the details outside of the story. His writing style is clever, the dialogue fun and entertaining, and the stories diverse and captivating. On its completion, you will feel you know Cohen, even though it is a work of fiction because his vibrant personality seems to shine through in each story.