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The Absent Traveler and other short stories reviewed by fran lewis

Title: The Absent Traveler and other stories

Author: Randall Devallance

ISBN: 978 0984510528
Publisher: Atticus Books


Charles Lime is a total misfit living in a world of his owncreation. As the author relates the life of this man caught up in a dead-endjob, working for meager wages we meet this college age man who lives his lifein a fantasy world created by the books he reads and the world he imagines inhis mind. Charles Lime is not a success in any definition of the word. Livingin a one room basement with few if any modern conveniences, he trudges throughlife, fixating on the things he wishes he could have and those he imagines hedoes. Charles Lime is someone grasping at life and groping for one small twigor piece of something to hang on to that would bring him some joy or success.Happiness is within his realm of hope but his life has little purpose as hestagnates in his career, does not take any unnecessary chances nor attempts tochange his status quo.


Charles takes many journeys to fare off places within hismind, his dreams and vivid imagination as he immerses himself into the books hereads, articles in magazines, and wanders the globe to many foreign landsallowing himself to feel the essence, ambiance, and terrain of these places hevisits as an Absent Traveler on a journey that he might never realize on hisown. Taking a chance, changing his routines, or allowing himself to understandthe lives of others in other places would warrant Charles having to confrontdangerous situations, override his boredom and require planning, work,creativity and other attributes Charles might have but refuses to explore andremain dormant. Yet, Charles is quite astute on his assessment and descriptionsof the world as the author narrates his view of the many people he encountersat work, at the local diner or even on the street. Allowing the reader to seethe world through the eyes of the character from glasses that are often cloudedand vision that needs to be sharpened, the reader realizes that Charles need toilluminate his dull world in order to free his vision of the cataract or cloudcovering it to see the world in a more positive way.


Tech Mart is a stopgap for most working there, exceptCharles Lime. Consumed by the attention devoted to his complaints, the jobitself and his no way out situation, Charles is freely not that different frommany young people today caught in a rut hoping for not a government bail outbut a parent bail out and some simple guidance that would lead them to eventualsuccess. Added to the mix of this interesting novella, is one young lady namedJasmine who gives the character and the reader a glimmer of hope that he mightrisk attempting a relationship with her or at least try a date. But, there ismuch more that is blocking his path. His parents are disappointed in him andalthough his mother would support his returning home and going back to schoolto advance himself, his father expresses his negative feelings, letting Charlieknow that his career choice is a dead end, his life has little purpose orsuccess and that a person’s worth is defined by the material things and thesize of his bank account and nothing more. Plus, finally taking a chance withJasmine does not exactly pan out the way he expected it to as she has a careerand life of her own and Charlie is not part of her future plans. Charlie needsto become more self-reliant and create a better place for himself by notlistening to others, leaving Tech Mart and deciding on a better path of his ownand not being so complacent.


Reality blends with fantasy as the end of the story revealsmuch about Charles, his dreams, his relationship and his fears when oneincident changes everything for him and his world is turned around leaving himwith his book. What happens at the end and where he winds up you will have todecide for yourself. Just what Charles has in store for him, does his life cometogether or does fall apart. Where does Jasmine wind up and whether they everconnect you will have to read for yourself. The ending will give the readermuch pause for thought and the final outcome you will have to determine foryourself. One man torn between his life and his dream of what he would likelife to be. Charles Lime: Absent Traveler: Absent in Life or Just Starting toLive


This is one book that really holds your interest throughout.It is a different kind of story with a character that you either understand orsympathize with or hope finds his place in the world before it’s too late.


Fran Lewis: Reviewer



ShortStories: Reviewed by Fran Lewis


The author includes an array of short stories that are sureto get the reader’s mind thinking. Would you leave everything you know and havefor a violinmaker? Would you move across the ocean with a man you hardly know?One young woman gave it all up to move to Italy and live with a man she feltwould make her happy? But, will she make the right decision as one other youngman tries to convince her to stay in a story titled: My Second Breakup. Next,the author recounts a strange tale of a young man named Nigel Moon whose memoryabout a special day eludes him. Entering his apartment unknown to him he facesa man we shall call The Haberdasher who insists that Nigel enlisted hisservices to fit him for a new tuxedo for a special day that he cannot remember.When trying to convince the man that he might not have brokered his services,our Haberdasher becomes violent and the end result will certainly make thereader think before hiring this man’s services in story two by our creativeauthor titled The Haberdasher. Next The Inquisitor where Inspector Kleinbecomes enamored with a woman who is applying for American citizenship. Whenbecomes too friendly he retreats and realizes that he must keep a professionaldistance and has to adhere to the tests time limits. The story reminds us ofthe detachment many government workers show when dealing with the public. Ourinspector soon regrets his cold demeanor as you see at the end of this story.


A young man is rejected by the Peace Corp to be hired by anorganization called the Harmony Brigade in a country that is not on the map andby people who might not really exist or do they? Read Her Majesty’s RoyalMechanic to find out the fate of one young man who was hired to deal with the country’seconomy but found himself smack dab in the middle of a problem involving asimple flat tire that needed to be executed. Why and the end result of thisterrible predicament will definitely make you smile and wish that the answer toour money problems was a simple as printing more or as much as you need. Readthis story and find out how the leaders solve their problems. There might be ajob at the NDRIF waiting for you.


The Appearance and Coincidence is a unique story that thereader will enjoy dealing with the many people living in a community and theresult of a hat that blows and a wind that creates many unfortunate situations.The final three stories are Decline and Fall, Fort Maple view Musical and The.Each of these stories deals with a writer whose goal it is to make money and torecreate history in their own way. Fort Mapleview is about a man who wants toresurrect a small town and bring it out of darkness and into the light. Thetown’s people and the local officials prefer the town and its history to remainstatus quo but when one man named Fingle with the help of another named Sumpcollaborate you won’t believe what happens to this small town and its citizens.You need to read the story for yourself to see what one man does to put thissmall town on a bigger map. Next, Edwin Block has been enlisted to write thenovel: Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire but can he do it and will it sell?Edwin Block is a New York Times bestselling author and what he does to get thejob done will not endear you to him but will make you wonder about thepublishing industry and the success of this man. Mr. Sams his editor onlyinterested in money and the benefits they reap presents a second story andfinally Malcolm Bowles learns the fate of his novel after too many rejectionsand gives up on more than just his writing. The final story is title THE and itis really one mans rise to fame and downfall in life. Each story reverts backto our main character Charles Lime as each main character struggles to findhimself and seek out a better life.


The characters in all of these short stories are not heroesthat are not rich nor do they have anything more in their lives than CharlesLime our protagonist in our novella. Each character seems at a dead end job, ordead end life feeling that there might be something better out there but notknowing what. The girl in the first story thinks moving to Italy is the answeras our young man feels working for the Supreme Leader of an unknown country ishis calling in life. Different in flavor and storyline yet the same with astrong feeling of hopelessness delivered in each plot and disappointments tooas our author reminds us that there are not easy answers to life and everyoneneeds to work at it in their own way. Excuses are not acceptable and the endresult is yours to bear and yours alone.


Stories that really make the reader think and willdefinitely elicit much discussion and varied viewpoints. Great for book clubsand discussion groups.


Fran Lewis: Reviewer



Amazon posted with five stars


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