A review of ‘Serendipity - A miscellany of short stories’

In this book of short stories, John Butler demonstrates a rare talent for humorous comedy and three-dimensional writing skills, which make his work a joy to read.
Each tale stands alone on merit and rightly deserves a place in the book. He does not insist on the convention that each story has to have a twist in the tail, but they are no less interesting for that. I’m not even sure that story is the right word for some of them, or does them full justice.
If the reader wants variety then it is here in shed-loads.
If thought provoking realism is your bag then you will find it in ‘The Death of the Hindenburg’ and others.
The author’s light touch is carried on right through every page, so that you are quickly on to the next little satirical gem, almost before you realise it.
I have had the enormous pleasure of listening to John at a writers evening, where he stood on stage and read through ‘It’s no laughing matter’ and it would be no exaggeration to say that he was the undoubted star of the show, and that was not just my opinion.
That particular story sums up the author’s amazing ability in a nutshell. He had the audience rolling with laughter until our faces ached. The humorous concept of how to cure a stutter was pure genius and unforgettable, and left you wanting more.
Another surprising feature of ‘Serendipity’ is John Butler’s ability to switch characters and narrate from the female point of view, as in ‘Double Drainers.’ Many successful male writers would find themselves in deep water if they were foolish enough to attempt this.
To my mind, many of the stories are clever observations of human nature in its many forms and give us the chance to laugh at ourselves. As the fairground caller might shout: roll up, roll up, everyone’s a winner!
Harry Riley

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