Review of "Love in a Cafe," a single story in a collection by Ted Gross
Ancient Tales, Modern Legends, a short story collection by Ted William Gross presents the reader with engaging and thought-provoking stories spanning the ages. Covering subjects of love, loss, pain, desire, need, frustration and hope these stories are meant to entertain as well leave an indelible impression upon the reader. Ted Gross cleverly combines ancient lore in his "Tiny Slivers From A Silver Horn" weaving Unicorns, the story of Adam & Eve and the modern world into a tale of lost wisdom and gained hope. "Love In A Cafe" moves the reader within the soft aura of love until the surprise ending. "Elijah's Coins" leaves us wondering about the great "what if" of life and just how blessed or cursed it would make us to change the future. "Reverieing" is a glimpse of the slow descent of one individual into his own personal hell. "Addiction, Obsession, Love", "Tenuous Webs" & "And So They Danced" look upon love and loss from different perspectives. "A Tapestry Of War" is a real war story and the consequences of war upon the psyche of the soldier. "The Sunflower" portrays how hate can insidiously seep into the heart of man while "The Heretic" will leave you wondering who the real heretic actually is. "Kapparot" will let you delve into the mystical world of Hassidic philosophy while looking upon man's relation to God. "Jacob's Ladder" will introduce you to a world of angels and their mission of silence.
Much like a good cup of coffee, this is the type of story that makes you sit and savor the moment. At first I was a little thrown off by the structure of "Love in a Cafe." The author divides it up into chapters which is unusual for a story this length.
But nothing about the plot feels rushed or "wannabe-novel" (i.e. didn't feel like writing a whole novel so everything is crammed into low word count). Yes, there are large gaps of elapsed time between chapters but Gross does an excellent job adding just enough details to make you feel like you're in the now.
The result was a beautiful love story with a perfectly bittersweet ending. As with many short stories, this tale doesn't fall clearly into any one genre. It's a romance but really it's more of a reading experience. Highly recommended.
Reviewed by Alain Gomez
Buy this collection on Amazon or B&N.