Review of "The Restoration Man" by Simon John Cox
Summary:One man's obsession with the restoration of a near-mythical car is thrown into sharp perspective following the death of his wife.
After reading this story there is no doubt in my mind that Cox is able to write well. An author's descriptive ability is always tested in short stories. And in that area Cox excels. He does a fantastic job creating a protagonist that you can't help but feel connected to.
Where I feel that this story is sort of lacking is in the obsession department. It's the main plot point but, strangely enough, is not really focused on. The protagonist's wife is dead but you never find out how his obsession with the car affected their relationship. Most of the story centers on his current grief. There are a few hints that he regrets his past actions. But if I don't know what they are, how can I tell if he was really ignoring his wife for the car or if it's all in his head?
Story lines like this are tricky. There has to be a careful balance of past and present information in order to present the inevitable future. I need to know what role the car played in the past so I can understand his regret now.
All that said, this is still a beautifully crafted story and well worth the read. The fact that it made me think as much as it did is a major plus in my mind. I enjoy short stories that last well beyond the final sentence.
Reviewed by Alain Gomez