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The Empty Café

Michael Hoffman

Average Review Rating Average Rating 8/10 (1 Review)
Book Details

Publisher : 1st Books Library

Published : 2001

Copyright : Michael Hoffman 2001

ISBN-10 : PB 0-7596-1986-7
ISBN-13 : PB 978-0-7596-1986-9

Publisher's Write-Up

Somewhere between fantasy and reality is the unexplored world in which Hoffman’s characters live.

A man reading the newspaper suddenly finds himself transformed into the elder brother of god.

A foreigner in Japan, falsely accused of assaulting a young girl, finds his innocence slowly slipping away from him.

Why did the woman in the restaurant scream? The empty café fills; reason loses its coherence.

In the novella Solitude, the last of eight tales in this volume, Solomon Rose returns home after 22 years to confront a dilemma soluble only by murder.

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Reader Reviews

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Review by Paul Lappen (070503) Rating (8/10)

Review by Paul Lappen
Rating 8/10
This group of stories do indeed take place somewhere between fantasy and reality.

A man goes away to school and eventually becomes a history professor, losing touch with his younger brother. One day, he opens the newspaper and sees a picture of little brother, fronting a popular rock music band. Overnight, the older brother’s life is turned upside down, as he goes from being an average college professor to brother of a famous rock star.

A westerner living in Japan, accused of sexually assaulting a teenage girl, watches as his innocence slowly disappears.

A woman and her fiancé are eating in an expensive restaurant. Suddenly, she notices an older gentleman a few tables away and screams. The fiancé takes her home immediately, and after a good night’s sleep, it’s as if the incident in the restaurant never happened. A couple of times, the woman says “I won’t hurt you,” for seemingly no reason at all. The object of her emotional reaction, an actor, appeared in a film a few years previously. It’s about a man who befriends a little girl, takes her shopping for a doll, then drugs her, undresses her and photographs her, but otherwise doesn’t harm her.

A police officer in present-day Bangkok, Thailand, after reuniting a lost boy with his frantic parents, tells of how his own son, a schizophrenic, committed suicide. Perhaps those who hear voices in their heads are the sane ones, and the rest of us, who can’t hear them, are insane.

These stories are really good. Hoffman has done a fine job throughout. They are easy to read, with real people as characters and are highly recommended.
Paul Lappen (7th May 2003)

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