To Whom It May Concern: And Other Stories

Vincent Di Blasi

Publisher: iUniverse Pages: 125 Price: (paperback) $13.99 ISBN: 9781532032325 Reviewed: February, 2018 Author Website: Visit »

In this multi-faceted work from author Vincent Di Blasi, nine stories are brought together in a thought-provoking collection that explores sentiments of love and loss, family bonds, hope, and memory.

Here, stories range from the simple “Next,” showcasing a solitary woman in a glass cube who faces confinement and a downwards tumble, to the more complex “A String of Bad Hands,” where a writer risks everything in a poker game with the devil. While each tale is unique unto itself, the majority engage a first-person narrative driven by searching and questioning characters. Shared themes address desires and fears, certainties and the unknown, and cross earthly and spiritual realms.

Although this is a work of fiction, it seems plausible that certain story elements are rooted in actuality. With the book’s dedication to Di Blasi’s grandmothers, “The Red Woman From Campania” seems an intimate¬†familial take on Italian ancestry and the significant impact an elderly woman has on her grandson.

The title story “To Whom It May Concern” is the longest entry and embodies a fortuitous reveal of an isolated community sinking into the ocean. Di Blasi pointedly creates an island scenario as a microcosm of the globe. Written as a message in a bottle to the outside world, even amidst all the expected concerns of such a predicament, hope prevails.

From the deceased classmate in a leopard skin jacket who vowed to deliver “something” from the afterlife, to an enigmatic panhandling amputee who searches for her past in a golden age mirror, these selections are detailed with colorful characters and intriguing situations. Such elements are complimented by Di Blasi’s fluid, lyrical writing style, a combination that proves an alluring draw into the heart of these narratives.

While the opening and closing stories may lack a bit of the anticipatory punch of the central work, readers will find Di Blasi’s literary voice memorable.

Also available in hardcover and ebook.

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