All well-crafted short stories should strive to make a single emotional impact on the reader. On that count The Sun Zebra delivers. Rolando Garcia’s collection of five stories offers endearing glimpses into the little moments that can impart lasting life lessons when seen through the eyes of a child. Love is what connects and binds us to each other in this thing called life and in Garcia’s touching stories.
The title story not only effectively communicates a child-like sense of wonder, it also contains excellent imagery. “Bob the Intrepid Insectnaut” manages to combine sorrow and humor effectively, although the father’s narrative voice feels too intrusive at times. The premise of “Raven-Lenore” intrigues with its interplay between Poe’s famous poem and daughter Nell’s squirrely counterpart, but the structure needs tweaking.
“The Meaningless Christmas Tree” achieves effective characterization with the old man and his ugly tree and demonstrates the author can also deftly render intriguing adult characters. Finally, “Birdman and the Fairy Tale” showcases the author’s knack for illustrating how a child can mull a moment over in their mind and how adults can learn a lot from their children.
Rolando Garcia’s storytelling gift lies in beautifully communicated thematic elements. As a fellow lover of the short story form, I am happily anticipating further work from this author. As a perpetual student and teacher of the craft of the genre, I would recommend more showing and less telling, adding more dialogue, and heightening setting details. It will be interesting to see where his story-telling journey takes him.
What stories have you read that captured a sense of childlike wonder?
For more insight, read my Book Review Criteria. Please share responsibly. Jeri Walker, 2013