Thank You to Open Road Media for providing me with an advanced copy of Bruce Jay Friedman's The Peace Process, in exchange for an honest review.
PLOT - The Peace Process is comprised of thirteen short stories, and a novella, which is the namesake of the collection. Often humerous and frequently involving characters in the arts, Friedman tackles a wide range of human interaction, including all manner of relationships; romantic, business, family, international politics...he doesn't shy away from the difficult or absurd.
LIKE- Friedman writes heavy topics in a way that's very accessible. He uses humor to add levity to some very weighty, and often downright horrific scenarios. Additionally, he has a style of writing that I found accessible. It's direct, with clear characters and vivid description, but void of flowery prose. Not a single word is superfluous.
Friedman creates engaging plots, but his characters are what really shines. He has a knack for putting his characters in terrible moral dilemmas, like in his novella, The Peace Process, where his Jewish-American protagonist finds himself scouting movie locations in Israel, where he attacks a low-class Israeli Arab. Feeling remorse for his actions (especially when the Arab is nothing but kind in return), he tries to make it up to the man by attempting to smuggle him out of the country and into New York.
The Storyteller, with its Twilight Zone vibe was easily my favorite story. English Teacher Alan Dowling has died during surgery and his afterlife is void of literature. He can be famous in the afterlife by stealing a great work of literature, and claiming it as his own. The golden ring is his to grab, if only he can remember the plots of these famous stories.
DISLIKE- I was unevenly interested in the stories, very hit and miss. To be sure, there was more I liked, than disliked, but there were several that failed to keep my attention.
RECOMMEND- Yes. There is much to admire in Friedman's collection; his quirky sense of humor, unique perspective, and vivid characters. Although I wasn't "wowed" by every story, I'm left with enough of a positive impression to recommend The Peace Process.