As always I like to start these book reviews with a nice healthy dose of background information, so first off, the book is called Follow the Money (A Tale of Tales) and was written by David Fuentes, as well as the physical version you can also check out the audio-book version on Itunes and it is available if you sign up for Audible. The story is a collection of narratives bound by the same bank notes being involved, I like this because it reminds me of the old notion of Six degrees of separation, the idea that anyone on the planet can be connected by as little as six other people. I’ve always liked that idea, and the notion of connectivity runs throughout the story and presents it in a really interesting way.
I do have to admit that I’m not usually a fan of short story compilations, but I really enjoyed this one, I liked that the core thread was something small and yet an inexorable part of our lives. How money can change hands a hundred times and pick up a hundred different stories. What’s good about this story is that even though each story is connected you can truly travel all the way across the world, you really get to experience these tiny vignettes of people’s lives, and David Fuentes really knows how to tell a story so each part is a rich narrative that works independently and together really well.
This review is largely just for the physical book but I will mention that it is available on audio-book (you can find the link above) and this story, or rather collection of stories really lend themselves well to being spoken, it helps you follow thing easier because you can truly just sit back and experience the story itself and I assume there was some give and take between the author and the narrator because he does a good job of relaying the story in a way that makes it engaging.
Sometimes I struggle with reviews because things I like are disliked by the majority, for example a few of my favourite movies appear on the list of all time worst movies, and in regards to book reviews I enjoy purple prose because I come to reviews as a writer myself, so I’m always aware of and appreciative of strong and detailed descriptive scenes, now in David Fuentes’s case I wouldn’t say his prose is too purple, or what I mean to say it’s not too ornate or flowery but it does capture the scene really well, even in the opening paragraph it’s tight and well done, enough that had I not been sent this book and had instead found it on my own it would have been enough to keep me reading.
I think one of the reasons why I struggle to enjoy most short story collections is that when they are written by the same author they can often really seem like the same characters over and over again because often an author can struggle to really distinguish new people in a narrative, it’s hard to put nuance into a story, especially when you only have the characters for a brief window, but without going overboard and going in the entirely opposite direction with it I feel that Fuentes really manages to give us a reasonably diverse cast of characters. While we are talking about character I want to say that dialogue can be tricky, especially if you’re trying to insight a specific incident, sometimes it can feel like the characters are being led to a destination, and us as a the readers along with them, but through subtle use of dialogue and of course the descriptive elements mentioned above, you can really make the story unfold organically, until it doesn’t feel like it’s a story at all. I get that with some stories I read where I can predict a plot element or a character’s reaction not because it was obvious or cliche but because it flows honestly from the character you’ve set up and how you’ve already shown them to react. I cannot say that Fuentes’s novel is perfect, but he has a strong command over the aspects I’ve covered so far and has truly made an engaging story that was more than worth a read.
So with all that in mind I think I’ll give this novel a 4/5 and I suggest you check it out for yourself, because while I can’t say that I enjoyed every part of it equally, I did enjoy it a lot, and even though there was a big shift between the two sections of the book it wasn’t too jarring, so with all that in mind, yeah check out Follow the Money (A Tale of Tales) today. If you would like to grab yourself a copy then head on over to Amazon.
First Published on: https://offtherecordblog.org/