I love short story books. They give me a complete story in bite sized pages I can finish a story in a short time and pick up the next. I have two of Allan Hudson’s books on my Kindle, somehow pushed down into the fray from every consequent book I’d added. And I picked out this gem, A Box of Memories when I felt for a new short story book. Stories take us into a day in the life, or a span of a life.
Many of the short stories herein are inspired by memories I have of events in my life or related events I’ve witnessed or read about. Family is important to me so many stories are about relationships, love, sharing and giving, overcoming difficulties. Read about an older man and an abandoned baby. His last days. Three men acting like boys. Ten year old boys and the trouble they get into. The grueling work of dismantling ships by hand. Retirees with too much time on their hands. The dangers of shopping in Outer Space. Visiting a Food Bank. A covered wagon with a family and all of their possessions. Escaping slaves. Seniors with nothing to eat. The revenge of the wasps. Returning to the country of your birth. A Honey Trap. A detective that discovers crimes too close to home.
My 5 Star Review:
A wonderful collection of short stories from the heartfelt to sci-fi – Far Out Mall, spanning various lives of people, old and young. Hudson has a wonderful style of writing that takes you in to the remotest detail and brings his characters alive. Below I’ve listed some of my favorites:
In the first story – Reaching the Pinnacle – Grandpa and granddaughter share a nature hike together and granddaughter shares her good news with him.
Lloyd and the Baby was one of my favs – when 55 year old confirmed bachelor Lloyd finds an abandoned baby in the home he rented out to a young couple and watches them steal out in the wee hours of the night, packing Lloyd’s furniture onto a moving struck, skipping the rent, he scurries over to the home to see what’s left. Lloyd finds they’ve abandoned their six month old baby crying, left in a box, leading to the adoption of the little tyke, renaming him Eugene.
Four Memory Boxes – After Lloyd’s passing, Eugene goes through Lloyd’s sacred four boxes of all his treasures and possesions in the world, and discovers some fishy paperwork about how Eugene was adopted, which doesn’t exactly match up with what Lloyd told Eugene about the truth of his abandonment when Lloyd took him in as his own.
Two Boys, One Wagon and a Secret – the curiosity of young boys and their favorite past times, looking for empty bottles for cash – until their curiosity gets them more than they bargained for when they get curious about smoking.
Food Bank – a humble man delivering his contribution for the Food Bank, taking in the scenery around – the poor, cold and hungry waiting for the bank to open – the man hands his scarf over to a young girl shivering, the scarf his son had given him. The spirit of kindness and compassion.
Funeral Food – one of my favorites, whereby a woman who can’t seem to survive on her pittance in government assistance gets crafty and begins following obituaries so she can attend funerals that offer food after the services. The author takes up a subject where far too many find themselves in this situation. Even in our city of Toronto, they’ve recently announced that 1 out of every 5 cannot afford food. This is an all too common problem in our world of greed, but thankfully, Hudson brings in some compassionate characters.
I also enjoyed the story about the Two Grumpy Old Men, a.k.a. TGOM, and the two follow up stories about these retired men who open up a cafe/restaurant as goodwill, not for profit and a peek into their lives.
This book is for anyone who enjoy stories about a slice of life with richly developed characters who bring Hudson’s stories to life.