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NINE STRAY SHOTSIn these nine short stories, absurdity undermines the foundations of reality until there is no turning back: A boy gets trapped between the walls of a building. / Five friends establish a new country inside their apartment and set out to defend it with their teeth. / The sensual voice of a jazz singer disturbs the life of a musician to the point of driving him mad. / A jaded married couple receives a mysterious black box on their doorstep that will bring them together again. In the midst of a war that seemed distant, three children and their tutor repeat over and over again the same form of death. / A mobster tells a crime as if it had already happened, but in reality he is anticipating it. / On their honeymoon, a couple of newlyweds get lost in a remote and mysterious village that does not appear on any map and end up involved in a crime that will accompany them for years. Between the fantastic, the absurd, the extravagant and the crude reality, these short stories are a winding path for the reader to venture into their own stray.
REVIEWS:"A succinct collection of literary nuggets ..." FIVE STARS
A good short story should reveal itself in a quick glancing light. But it's often hard to lose oneself in the brevity of such short works so when an anthology like Nine Stray Shots comes along it's worth taking note.
A succinct collection of literary nuggets where tragedy, relationships, death and serendipity are briefly illuminated, There's no lyrical wandering with each story punching above its word count with unexpected moments encroaching on the reader's headspace and demanding reflection.
The genre thrives on authors who can quickly tap into our imagination and in the main Soto achieves this through the economy of his settings which are readily absorbed and allow us to retain story arcs in our mind without relinquishing the detail.
With short story anthologies like Nine Stray Shots, you can engage with them briefly, nod and think about them, then forget about them later. But if you do stop to think a little more about Soto's collection, you'll come to recognise the intricacy of what he's constructed as he holds his characters and events up to scrutiny.
At just nine stories in all, Soto is quite adept at evoking social nuance. This is clearly evident in stories like Wrong Short Cuts, Black Box and The Weirdo and whilst they couldn't be more different each one is eminently readable and a testament to the passion with which Soto writes.
A must-read for fans of short-form fiction Nine Stray Shots is unreservedly recommended. The BookViral Review ---
Reviewers say of Soto's work: "Fear, absurdity and helplessness are expressed here through characters who live a shared, paradoxical and essential loneliness that can only emerge in the midst of the collective. Mariano Nava Contreras. "Wonderful collection of stories stuffed with humanity, desolation and caustic humor; above all, assumed with a comfortable prose and without excesses. Moments without waste through journeys through childhood, through non-existent places, doses of surrealism, micro moments of terror... a shortcut through the most vile emotions, with a consistent influence of visual fables -Gillian, Lynch, Tarantino- that have marked the new generations of the most audacious writers without complexes". Joaqu n Ortega. "A mature author, with expertise, gifted with the art of leading stories and creating characters, and with them to move us, given his ability to maintain the tension and the dramatic arc, in impeccable consonance with the internal verisimilitude". Oscar Marcano.