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Casualties and Survivors

Casualties & Survivors takes this stance: life cannot be seen as black and white, as every situation always has gray areas. One could argue that there will always be casualties and survivors, whether the loss of a friendship or an opportunity. However, there are times when people die, leaving behind the survivors, who must endure the loss.

In a series of short stories, Len Joy takes the reader on a journey of lost love, opportunities, and coping with the void of someone no longer around. While there is a backdrop of tragedy and melancholy to each tale, each story presents new opportunities for the survivors, though not always in the way they expect. You’ll encounter tales of an artist coping with the loss of his lifelong love, only to experience another side of this journey with a surprising twist. Another tale follows how a couple develops a relationship over a simple object, a trash can.

Overall, I enjoyed the book and each story’s unique plot and character dilemmas. While some of the stories were shorter than others, I mainly found them more gut-punching and vivid, as they quickly built momentum and anticipation of what was to come. Other stories were a bit longer, which allowed for more character and setting descriptions, leaving a strong visual impression of well-crafted scenes, such as a Christmas tree lot, the naked winter yoga, and an artist’s sparsely furnished apartment. Len Joy creates lasting moments that stay behind with the reader for a fantastic reading experience.

Len Joy’s writing style is clear and concise, which makes for easy, enjoyable reading. The recurring message in Joy’s stories is gut-wrenching, realistic, reassuring, and comforting. The author leaves the reader curious about each character’s future and what’s in store for them. While, at times, the author uses explicit language in some scenes, fans of short stories will enjoy the loosely threaded stories and how they interact with each other throughout the book. 

Pages: 178 | ASIN: B0B92QYYYV

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