Today Paul Bennett reviews Ripples in the Pond by Sebnem E Sanders. The author has very kindly offered a paperback copy of the book as a giveaway. To be in with a chance of winning this wonderful collection of short stories, simply leave a comment below or on our Facebook page.
A man infatuated with ivy. A woman pining for lost love. In a Turkish square, ancient buildings lament a devastating explosion. An unlikely friendship struck up with a homeless person. A journey to a magical place that once visited can never be found again. The camaraderie between the patients in a cancer ward. A writer who has lost his muse. A tragedy that leads to dementia. These are just a few of seventy individual tales set in locations straddling continents, which portray war, love, hate, hope, greed, revenge, despair, humour, mystical happenings, fantasy, and so much more. Like ripples expanding on the surface of a pond to reach its banks, they converge in this anthology of flash fiction and short stories by Sebnem E. Sanders in her debut release.
First, a confession, I cannot remember the last time I read a collection of short stories, Golden Apples of the Sun by Ray Bradbury somehow sticks in my mind, and while I have enjoyed Mark Twain, Edgar Allen Poe and the like; I am, and probably will remain, for the most part, a novel reader. It was mere curiosity that found me asking to review this anthology. Now, having said that I must also confess that Ripples on the Pond just might have me looking at the genre a bit more closely.
What I found in Ripples on the Pond is a compelling collection of well crafted stories, my peeps and fellow travelers. Stories that evoke the gamut of human emotions and experiences; glimpses of love, joy, loss, and hope permeate the pages and like a pebble dropped into water, the stories leave ripples of humanity seeking truth and fulfillment. A brief example from Mummy's Torchlight:
Toby bowed, turned around, and left the building, his head bursting with thoughts. His hatred and vengeance had dissolved into sadness and pity, but mostly sadness…a feeling of loss. Something he'd have to live with for the rest of his life. He knew one thing for certain. He'd never return. Before he drove away from the Acacia Retreat, Toby held the torch tight in his hand. "I have confronted him, Mummy. I've done it for you and me. Rest in peace." On the way home, he stopped on an old wooden bridge and threw the torch into the mirror surfaced creek. He waited as the ripples extended outward and disappeared.Time and again throughout the 71 stories, one comes up against harsh realities, compassion, and much, much more that make us human. Entertainment and enlightenment are in store for you, dear reader. 5 stars
About the author:
Sebnem E. Sanders is a native of Istanbul, Turkey. Currently she lives on the eastern shores of the Southern Aegean where she dreams and writes Flash Fiction and Flash Poesy, as well as longer works of fiction. Her flash stories have been published on the Harper Collins Authonomy Blog, The Drabble, Sick Lit Magazine, Twisted Sister Lit Mag and Spelk Fiction. She has a completed manuscript, The Child of Heaven and two works in progress, The Child of Passion and The Lost Child. Her collection of short and flash fiction stories, Ripples on the Pond, has been published in December 2017. Her stories have also been published in two Anthologies: Paws and Claws and One Million Project, Thriller Anthology. More information can be found at her website where she publishes some of her work: https://sebnemsanders.
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About the reviewer:
Let me begin this intro-bio by revealing that I love to be up in the wee hours of the morning. Coffee is best at that time of day which also coincides nicely with the inspiring actions of my Muse.
My interest in things ancient had been kindled earlier by movies such as Ben Hur and Spartacus (flawed and incorrect as it is). My buddy Harry and I would use rolled up newspapers as swords as we fought against the evil Roman legions. A slightly more educated spark came from my reading of Heinrich Schliemann’s excavation of Troy. This curiosity was ratcheted up a few notches when I started classes at Wayne State University. Professor Milton Covensky was instrumental in making me a history nut with his teaching style and through his book Ancient Near East Traditions. Of course being less than proficient in math and the sciences also helped me decide what to major in. Thusly I became a Classical Civilization major and even learned (but long since forgot) ancient Greek. My favorite assignment/memory was from a class on life in ancient Greece and Rome. For the final exam I had to write an essay on the Watergate scandal from three perspectives and style; Herodotus, Thucydides and my own. It was certainly the most fun I ever experienced in a final exam. J However; I did not complete my degree as I was overtaken by the need to live a little. So, I quit school and my job and took a year and a half sabbatical from anything practical. The next 18 months were spent in frivolous activities such as traveling to California a couple times and smoking a lot of weed. Sometimes the two coincided, for example, when driving past Whittier, CA my buddies and I thought it would be cool to find Richard Nixon’s house and smoke a doobie in front of it and it would have been except for the fact that he lived practically next door to the Marine base at Camp Pendleton. We were rather surprised to see a marine guard station on the road ahead of us; fortunately we had time to do a U-turn before meeting up with the Semper Fi guys with guns.
Once I re-entered the practical world I found that historical fiction filled the vacuum left after quitting school. Authors like Mary Renault (The King Must Die; etc.) and Mary Stewart (her Merlin/Arthur trilogy) fanned the flames of curiosity but it wasn’t until after I married and raised a family that this love affair really took off. Nowadays I am inundated with books and authors that feed my need for things ancient. Colleen McCullough’s series on the fall of The Roman Republic for example sent me on a search for more works of this sort and boy have I ever found them. So many authors, so many books, call to me these days that I have had to create a spreadsheet to keep track.
Much of this largesse can be directly attributed to Twitter. I found and read the first three volumes of the most excellent Marius Mules series by SJA Turney. Piqued by his blurb about his website I started a Twitter account so I could thank him for the work done so far. This has led to a burgeoning friendship and the discovery of many fine authors of this genre; so many that I fear I may never be able to retire so as to have the necessary funds to buy all of these great books. J
Recently my time for reading has been somewhat curtailed by and replaced with writing my first full length, honest to goodness novel. The title is Clash of Empires and is a work of historical fiction that takes place in the Colonies during The French-Indian War. It's the story of a frontier family and their acquaintances and the challenges they face during this turbulent period. It is the first volume in The Mallory Saga as I intend to follow the Mallory clan through the history of the United States.
Buy Clash of Empires here:https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01MXR186R