The Monthly Kent Satire Book Club

Fifth ‘Photography’ a flash in the pan

I was ready to love the fifth edition of Barbara London and Jim Stone’s short story collection Photography. I mean, the first four versions were so fabulous, how could the fifth one falter?

But something went wrong in the transition between book four and book five, because the beloved tales and intense imagery of the Photography series’ previous installments were nowhere to be found in the latest edition.

I mean, don’t get me wrong, for a book called Photography, there certainly seem to be a lot of pictures in this book. Almost too many. Where are the soap opera mini-dramas I loved so much? Where’s the witty banter between characters?

I did, however, enjoy the little vignette about the film reel who was ripped to pieces and dipped into various chemicals. Here, London and Stone excel in illustrating both verbally and pictorially the turmoil this character went through.

But ultimately, all this book had to offer was a bunch of pictures of buildings and people taken from multiple angles. And descriptions on how to take pictures like that. Hell-o???!!! Who asked for instructions?! Give me character development and give me solid storylines. As far as I’m concerned, Photography is a flash in the pan.

—Andrew Hampp

Carlas’ ‘Ciao’ just doesn’t translate

Ciao!, a novel written through collaboration by Carla Federici and Carla Riga, is refreshingly full of colorful pictures and plenty of dialogue, but lacks a cohesive plot line, as well as many other characteristics of a successful novel.

The title character, Ciao, is only noticeably present in the first chapter, after the end of the first “Capitolo”, he almost completely disappears. Incidentally, the chapter names are less than original. Every one of them is called “Capitolo.” The storyline itself is nearly incomprehensible; it seems like every other word is written in a foreign language.

Ignoring the lackluster creative content, the design of the entire book leaves much to be desired. The structure of each chapter quickly degrades from narrative to mini-drama to an incomprehensible list of hypothetical questions. Many paragraphs of seemingly solid text are randomly missing words. Sentences are reduced to meaningless dribble as countless key vocabulary words are replaced with blank spaces.

While the Carlas may have originally had a good idea in Ciao!, poor design ideas, a lazy printer and the complete lack of a story line have doomed this book. Maybe the next edition will translate better.

—Kathleen Mallady