This collection of short stories is thought-provoking and beautiful in equal measure. Even in translation, the bulk of the prose reads really well. Each tale has something special about it, and there is a surprising variety in the subject matter. The book is a pleasant reminder of the sublime talents of the author of ‘The Plague’ and ‘The Outsider’- true literary classics.
For me, the most effective story is ‘The Silent Men’ as this atmospheric piece of writing chimes with our austere times. It describes the sullen mood of workers who had failed to assert themselves through strike action. Unflinchingly, it focuses on disappointed lives.
However, there is a poetry about the story which gives hope to the reader. It apparently maintains that people had chances and consolations and options even when they were defeated. Some of the choices might have passed by, but viewing things through cold eyes allowed for life to be examined. And that examination could be highly rewarding in non-financial terms.