Douglas Bosack’s The Great Lakes Plaza and Other Short Stories grapples with relationships between parents and their children and more

Douglas Bosack’s The Great Lakes Plaza and Other Short Stories grapples with – among other things – guilt and redemption, religion and atheism, the relationships between parents and their children as well as the demons brought on by alcoholism and racism. Frequently, the bonds of family and friends and the complex dynamics between husbands and wives come into play. Often, the characters find themselves dealing with the disparities between their romantic ideals and imperfect reality. In addition, the book contains two excerpts from Mr. Bosack’s novel in progress, Caduceus, which appears to explore the same themes.

“A Victim of Circumstance,” the story that opens this collection, sets the tone and themes of the book. The reader plunges immediately into a world of decisions and their consequences. “Dreams Can Come True,” the second entry in the book, introduces the theme of romantic dreams coming into conflict with everyday love. “Carl and Lynnette” and “Basement Monsters” offer two sides of the parent/child relationship coin. Mr. Bosack shows a more playful side with “The Short-Order Cook” and “The Policeman.” “Ciao” and “Omar’s” give a taste of Mr. Bosack’s novel, which appears to develop the themes of his short stories from several intriguing angles. The collection’s final selection, “The Great Lakes Plaza,” reiterates the themes of marital/romantic relationships and the costs of choices. As in “Basement Monsters,” the supernatural takes a hand in the proceedings.

Mr. Bosack knows his characters well and shows a sure hand when giving them their voices. He develops his various themes from numerous angles. At times, parents take center stage, at other times children are the ones in the spotlight. The pleasures and dangers of drinking are seen from the viewpoints of those trying to overcome their overconsumption and those who have surrendered to their demons. The many ugly faces of racism are battled, and as in life, the good guys don’t always come out on top. By refusing to end all of his stories happily, Mr. Bosack gives them credibility, and he forces the reader to think about the characters’ choices. Midway through the book, Mr. Bosack inserts short reads that depart from the tone of the previous selections while carrying the same themes; these stories give the reader, even more, perspectives from which to consider the central ideas. Readers should be aware that Mr. Bosack doesn’t shy away from profanity as well as sexual and other adult situations. However, his authorial choices are made for the sake of character, story, and theme, rather than being gratuitous.

The Great Lakes Plaza and Other Short Stories explores complicated concepts deeply and passionately. At times, readers may recognize themselves, their significant others and their friends and family in the characters Mr. Bosack brings to life. Additionally, the stories may make readers examine and re-examine their views about their relationships and the world around them. For those willing to make these explorations, reading The Great Lakes Plaza and Other Short Stories will be time well spent.

Title: The Great Lakes Plaza and Other Short Stories

Publisher: Book Publishers Network

ISBN: 978-1-945271-70-0

Pages: 191

Genre: Short Stories

Reviewed by: Susan Milam (Pacific Book Review)

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TITLE: The Great Lakes Plaza






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