Book Review: 420 Characters by Lou Beach

Title: 420 Characters
Author: Lou Beach
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
ISBN: 978-0547617930
Genre: Short Stories
Pages: 176
Source: Publisher
Rating: 4/5

Since the advent of Twitter (140 characters only) everyone is a writer and everyone has a story to tell. The advantage to the reader being that these stories are short and sometimes very short, so the reader can assimilate it all and think about them long after the stories are done with. There are the random fifty-five word stories and then the 140 character stories. Amidst all this, there shines a book of stories summing to only 420 characters – including the words.

Lou Beach started writing these stories as his Facebook status updates. The condition was: Each story was limited to 420 characters. These miniature stories are something else. They contain worlds larger and more meaningful than most full-length stories. The character and texture of these stories is of fluidity. There are no chains or boundaries to this kind of writing. It is seamless and can take any shape that it wants, which in essence is the beauty of these stories.

420 Characters does not restrict itself to any one particular emotion. It traverses the entire rainbow of emotions – love, loneliness, envy, hate, anger and more. Lou Beach intends to mesmerize the reader even in the shortest of stories and does it marvelously. I was taken in by these stories from the very beginning.

What I love about the writing is that it has the essence of poetry attached to it. The reader through such writing is touched or not – emotions seep through the writing and enter the reader, evoking the same feelings, which is not easy to do for a writer. On the other hand, the book may not be for everyone. Not everyone can digest or would want to read a book with stories limiting themselves to 420 characters.

These are great story starters which can stand alone and also evolve into something else. They have the capacity to evoke the readers’ imagination and make him or her think a little more while reading stories and the due credit goes only to Lou Beach. A must read for its brevity and impact.

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One thought on “Book Review: 420 Characters by Lou Beach

  1. Cassie

    I’ve been reading this slowly…maybe five at a time from the galley and I like them because they’re short and sweet, but it’s going to take me forever to finish. Your review has inspired me to keep on, keepin’ on.

    Reply

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