And Then We Vanish by D H Schleicher

3.5/5 Stars – Short story collection from a talented writer.

For someone who does not care much for short story collections, I have read three in the past year courtesy of the #indiebookclub book of the month selection. I have to say I have enjoyed them with mixed results and this offering by D H Schleicher sits neatly in the middle of the other two.

I feel conflicted about this book. First and foremost, I enjoyed the writing style. The author conveys his tales in an easy way, nuanced and effortless, by which I mean the stories are all very engaging in the telling which flowed and carried me right along with it. Until they didn’t.

Forest Gump’s mother said it best ‘Life is a box of chocolates’ and that for me is the issue with this book. I was never sure what I was going to get, I just knew that whatever it was I liked it only then it was over, done, finished, time to move on to the next story.

It was like I’d ordered a lovely steak and had taken a few mouthfuls when the waiter suddenly pops up and clears the table and hands me the dessert menu. Sorry, those that read my reviews know I like a good food analogy! I have no excuses this time having eaten at the time of writing.

So what do I mean? I mean that I loved a few of the stories, others not so much. The writing was great and I was invested, but all too often a tale just finished. They felt incomplete, a chapter out of chapters. I even read one twice in case I had missed something. But no. That was it. In more cases than not, I was left thinking to myself, ‘what that’s it? What was the point of it?’

It is a great pity that I felt this way, and I say that because hey, I was hooked. I was ready to read more. To find out what was going to happen next but it was like someone had torn a book in half, read the first part only to be disappointed there was no second part. That pretty much sums it up for me.

I wish I could say otherwise. I do think there are some gems in the book that could be expanded into a novella or even a novel and I would read them.  Special mention in this regard goes to ‘The Pumpkin Thief’ and ‘Night of the Spider’ the first and last.

As ever, reading is subjective and this is just my take on this book. The writing quality is there on display and in that regard, you are in safe hands. It’s just well what I said already.

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