A Box of Memories by Allan Hudson

[dropcap]Are [/dropcap]you like me and have boxes of memorabilia squirrelled away here and there all over your house? Some items may be trinkets while others may be more valuable, and not just for sentimental reasons. Then there are hundreds of irreplaceable photographs, digital or print. New Brunswick author Allan Hudson has a box of memories, many of which compels him to write stories. Allan states:

“Many of the short stories herein are inspired by memories I have of events in my life or related events I’ve witnessed or read about. Family is important to me so many stories are about relationships, love, sharing and giving, overcoming difficulties.”

I’m not going to run through each of the twenty-one stories, but several of them really stood out as particularly noteworthy to me. A few of the stories are related, such as Lloyd and the Baby, Four Boxes of Memories and Letting Go. The three stories begin with Lloyd Minister’s discovery (and eventual adoption) of a recently abandoned baby boy. Lloyd is a confirmed bachelor.

Lloyd reached in and picked up the baby, folding the blanket around his tiny frame. The baby immediately quieted, cooing and gurgling. Lloyd Jerome Minister experienced an awakening like no other he’d ever felt as he plunged into a chasm of love for the first time in his reclusive life.

The following two stories continue to looking back over the items he has kept of the child’s over the years, and, after his father’s death, his son having to go through the four boxes, which cause him to reflect back on his own life.

Two other connected stories have to do with the amusing adventures of Beans and Chops, two lads growing up in the late 50’s/early ’60s. Perhaps these are thinly disguised stories from Mr. Hudson’s past? As such, they represent some of the “lighter” content of the book. Then there is the Two Grumpy Old Men Cafe, which spans three stories surrounding the running of a cafe in Florida by three retirees, all of which are colourful in their own way.

The One Bedroom Ark is a particularly poignant story of shopkeeper Noah Coyne (who has “eyes of the darkest blue, like fresh steel,” one of my favourite lines from the book) who delays closing his shop for one late customer, a young, rain-soaked girl with a baby.

The book ends with two stories that give a foregleam of what is to come from the digital pen of Mr. Hudson: The Honey Trap and The Shattered Figurine, both of which are mystery/adventure/thrillers in the same vein as his two previous novels The Dark Side of a Promise and Wall of War.

Mr. Hudson is very much a “man’s writer” which is to say that his male characters are typically strong of character and virtuous (but not without their weaknesses) and his female protagonists are beautiful, even voluptuous, but not vapid, devoid of any intellect. His texts are charged with detail, but it doesn’t detract from the story; it simply serves to add atmosphere and space to the tale. If you haven’t read either of his previous novels, then A Box of Memories is a very good introduction to Allan Hudson’s meticulous and engaging style of authorship.

All of Mr. Hudson’s books are available in print or Kindle editions. Please note if you choose to purchase this book through Amazon using the link below I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. If you cannot see the Amazon ad below (if you are using an ad blocker, for instance) here is the link: https://amzn.to/2GPb0Nw Thanks!

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James M. Fisher is the Founding Editor of The Miramichi Reader. He began TMR in 2015, realizing that there was a genuine need for more book reviews of Canadian literature. It has since become Canada’s best-regarded source for the finest in new literary releases. James has been interviewed about TMR on CBC Radio and other media sites. He works as a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Technologist and lives in Miramichi, New Brunswick with his wife Diane, their tabby cat Eddie, and Buster the Red Merle Border Collie.

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