Review of ‘Hopeful Monsters’ by Roger McKnight

This short story collection is an insightful exploration of ordinary lives. It has a particular focus on Minnesota in the US but not knowing anything about the state, I can’t comment further on that aspect. I found the stories to be well-written and thoughtful with a philosophical tone. I have to admit that I rarely read short stories (I like them but novels always seem to take priority) and that this collection is not the kind of book I would usually read.

Each story looks at a situation which is often a turning point in a character’s life. A chance meeting with a stranger, or a crisis moment which encourages someone to change direction and improve their life. There is little ‘action’ in these stories. They are mostly dialogue and a kind of analysis of people’s histories. For me, there was too much ‘info dumping’ for such short stories. I don’t need to know everything about a character. There aren’t enough pages for me to get to know them properly. I prefer more atmosphere and tension building in my reading. I did like some of the stories more than others. However, I found some of them too similar and wanted more variety. The portrayals of diverse characters and situations seem realistic and well-considered, particularly when exploring the immigrant experience. I think that’s the element of the book I most admired.

I noticed that in one of the stories, a character’s name changes halfway through. Otherwise, the writing is impressively crafted.

Before reading what this book was about, I thought it would be a horror story! But the title refers to people being monsters, yet there is a hint of hope in every story.

Thank you to the independent publisher STORGY for the e-book offered for review. Hopeful Monsters was published in August 2019 – more details can be found here.

2 thoughts on “Review of ‘Hopeful Monsters’ by Roger McKnight”

  1. I don’t normally go for short stories too! But this does sound like an okay read. Lovely cover though! Great review as always, NS! ❤️

    1. I should read more short stories really but I think sometimes I find it hard to get into them. Great cover I agree. Thanks so much Jee 🙂 ♥

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