Stories from the Cantina
on June 01, 2011
Stories from the Cantina is a collection of five related short stories. In his introduction the author promises a "magical world that exists all around the edges of our mundane, routine daily existence". He also describes that world as a place "where reality folds into imagination". The book certainly delivers on these promises. The stories gracefully weave through magic to mundane and back to magic. The author takes us readers through the curse of thirteen generations of the 13th child of a 13th child then puts us, as tourists, in a small village bar. The bartender is an amusing story teller as well as a prophet. The last story leaves one eager to read more about what happens when little Maldito grows up.
Having taken courses from Harvey before, I already knew he could convey heavy subject matter with engaging humor. In this collection of short stories, for the most part, I think he followed the advice God gave one of Harvey’s characters: to lighten up. By the phrase for the most part I mean there were some that brought tears to my eyes with no compensating smiles, but all of the stories were inspiring. This collection contains thirteen stories, actually fourteen counting the young man/Marine giving us his observations of his experiences over the years. Each story addresses weighty material, the stuff of life and death. The tone, however, portrays the better features of living, things that are more important than physical life itself. By that I mean such aspects as respect, dignity, individual integrity and personal meaning. His characters are down to earth, philosophers of the common man. Their adventures are entertaining and enlightening. Many of the stories’ premises are creatively original, for example the mind cleaner who organizes our memories at night, the conversation with God in Death Valley, the writer who lives in his imagination, and the second holocaust in the year 2139. If you’re ready for travel through varied fascinating worlds with likable characters, this is a collection made for you.