Monday, July 4, 2011

Short Story Review: Song On The Sand by Ruth Sims

Reviewer: Alan Chin
Pubisher: Untreed Reads Publishing
Pages: 19

Tony Dalby is a wheelchair-bound man living his twilight years in a convalescent home. In his youth he had been a Broadway actor/dancer. Now he is a bitter, self-centered, irascible, old man with nothing to look forward to. He keeps his life history in a scrapbook—grainy photographs, letters, newspaper clippings, keepsakes. The staff at the home try to get him to stand, to walk, but he hasn’t the heart to even try during his therapy sessions.

But then Tony notices a sexy young man who shows up daily to visit Jesse, the victim of an accident that has left him a vegetable. After several days of admiring the young man from a distance, a chance encounter allows Tony to meet this young man, whose name is, Drew. Tony discovers that Drew and Jesse are lovers.

Driven to impress young Drew, Tony puts all his heart and soul into his therapy sessions, and over time gets to the point where he can walk with the help of only a cane. But then, for the first time in ages, he begins to think about someone other than himself. He tries to help Drew’s lover recover. As it turns out, Jesse and Tony had both acted in the musical, La Cage Aux Folles. This thin thread, they soon discover, has the power to turn tragedy into an unexpected joy.

Ruth Sims is one of my favorite writers, and once again she has managed to impress. This is a bittersweet tale of finding courage and compassion. It is beautifully written, almost flawless in its execution. The main character is completely believable, and lures the reader into his narrow view of the world, but then lets his world expand, giving both the character and the story greater depth.

Often times I can see where a story is going long before the last page, but throughout this tale I kept wondering how the author could possibly wrap up all these threads. Sim’s did so in a way that was both surprising and delightful. When I finished the last page, I sat in silence for a rather long time, not analyzing what I had read, but simply feeling the wonderful emotions that this story evoked.

Ruth Sims is a huge talent. And Song On The Sand is a little gem that I highly recommend to all readers.

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