Corey Croft’s witty, perspicacious work of fiction Coward engages and captivates readers from beginning to end. Croft’s main character, Samuel Florin, suffers from a meaningless, pitiful life as a result of one cowardly decision after another. From a dead-end job to indifferent romantic partner, Sam cannot help but wonder what happened to his life. Sam’s days had become filled with “A guttural half-grunt, half-groan (that) escaped his lips like the air brakes of a trailer-truck. It was the grumbling of an impotent man who had relented to the reality of his own flaccidity. A resigned captain flipping the switches of a dead cockpit, only for show.” These sentiments of inadequacy and discontent will resonate with any reader with aspirations of improving one’s position in life. Everyone hopes, not only to develop as an individual but to advance and succeed in various aspects of life.
After years of feeling trapped in this place, everything changes for Sam almost overnight. One evening spent at his customary watering hole Mahoney’s, Sam meets Lucy, the far-too-simple answer to Sam’s vile condition. Lucy authoritatively informs Sam, “Cowardice is simply an anthological term that I have chosen to describe the many inhibitions that I have remarked in your conduct. You are, and this is without rehearsal: jealous of all those around you; fearful to execute or even propose within yourself any form of change, whether exorbitant or minimal; angry, with neither the backbone nor bravura to negotiate all the rage, repressed but unmastered, that feasts upon your psyche like piranhas.”
Lucy’s assessment of Sam showcases more than just a passing glance of Sam’s predicament. In fact, Lucy has been observing Sam for quite a while. Despite the red flags, Sam must learn the hard way to ask more in-depth questions next time before accepting unsolicited, picture-perfect assistance from a stranger. Croft thoughtfully and spiritedly remakes a familiar narration in an appealing, spellbinding manner that truly raises the bar.
Readers will need to dive deep between the pages of Croft’s novel to witness firsthand Sam’s heroic salvation or tragic demise. Croft’s tale will inspire readers again and again to pursue ambitions thoughtfully and to avoid fervently despondency. After all, “You have to focus on your dreams. Half the battle is envisioning success.” Croft’s novel candidly illustrates to readers the hazards and pitfalls of a life unlived, as well as what one individual does with a fresh opportunity to take charge of his destiny. This book will quickly become a favorite upon any reader’s shelf, with introspective caveats emerging in each re-reading.
After editing at City Book Review for a few years, I took up the duties of editorial assistant, which include assigning books for review, posting reviews to our various sites, and nagging reviewers for things. In my non-nagging time, I’m a gamer, artist, writer, and notorious black thumb/bane of plants. My answer to every book-related question: read Octavia Butler.
|Page Count||333 pages|
|Publisher||Fly Pelican Press|
|Amazon||Buy this Book|