A Review of The Road Less Taken — Book 1

by Theodore Jerome Cohen

I had the great privilege to review Theodore Jerome Cohen’s Book 2 of The Road Less Taken, and I mentioned there the primary descriptive word for his great skill at short story writing: Gripping. Actually, I may have said: Utterly Gripping. Having the honor then to read Book1 of this duo, I noticed something quite subtle about Dr. Cohen’s skills, which are nothing short of wonderful. The subtlety lies in his ability to create a fascinating story within the folds of what appears to be another mundane story about everyday life, but which turns out to be just as fascinating as the first. Maybe more so, in a very … subtle … way.

Take the second story in this book The Road Less Taken, for example. Requiem for Solly begins with two elderly people, a husband and his lifetime love and wife, as it turns out, having themselves a normal if surprisingly affectionate chat about his retirement. This leads to a fascinating remembrance about playing the violin to please his father. But what I noticed halfway through this tale was how perfectly Theodore Cohen was telling the story of the husband and the wife, simply through the image of him engaged in reminiscing — including a little banter between the two — with a thoroughly curious and devoted woman egging him on with such genuine interest after all these years. My point is this: the reader becomes just as engaged by the couple’s life story as revealed subtly through their smallest words and gestures as one does by the more dramatic story told by the husband. That, my friends, is writing skill in a nutshell.