TODAY, TOMORROW, ALWAYS is an anthology of short stories set in a variety of time periods and places, each taking a look at humanity and human nature from a different perspective. From a new and clever take on the tale of the Three Magi to a look at what really happens during the process of selecting a new Pope, from a woman’s revenge for her rape to the consequences of a child’s isolation by a mentally-ill mother, each story has its own unique, thoughtful take on what it is to be a human being in a world that can be brutally cruel or unexpectedly kind.
If there is one common thread among the ten stories in TODAY, TOMORROW, ALWAYS, it is emotional intensity. The emotions themselves vary, from the regretful, almost tender loss and hopefulness of “And I Will Grow Flowers From Their Steel Bones” to the rage and catharsis of “Egg Toast,” the sheer heartbreak and fury of “Aufmachen” and the cynical humor of “Cardinal Knowledge” – but none of them will leave the reader entirely unmoved. These are the sort of stories that linger for a while in the back of a reader’s mind, raising questions, coloring the imagination, and giving the reader a new way to look at the world. There is enough variety here for almost anyone to find something that speaks to them, and for each story to feel fresh and interesting rather than a mere repetition of the same monochromatic emotional tone.
Some of the stories are stronger than others – a couple of them telegraph their point a bit too early or easily, and one or two feel somewhat heavy-handed – but tastes will vary, of course, and all of them are well-written enough to appeal to at least some of the anthology’s audience. The discussion questions placed at the end of each story feel rather textbook-ish and unnecessary, however. Good stories generate their own questions, and it feels almost dampening to have them provided to us, as if we’re being told what to think about each story rather than allowed to freely explore our own reactions. Still, these are easily skipped, and don’t distract too much from the well-crafted beauty of the stories themselves.
TODAY, TOMORROW, ALWAYS is a varied, creative, and thoughtfully-chosen anthology of stories, designed to affect and engage both mind and heart.
~Catherine Langrehr for IndieReader