Reviewed by Paige Lovitt for Reader Views (5/13)
Article first published as Book Review: Stories by C.L. Paur on Blogcritics.
“Stories” by C.L. Paur is a thought-provoking novel. While Catharine Zimmer had led a good life, she sheltered herself from making choices that would have helped her to evolve and move past her fears. She did not live up to her full potential. She does not realize this until after she passes on, and she is given an assignment that must be completed prior to moving on to her eternal destination. When she wakes up on the other side, she finds herself in a room with three others who have also passed. One was an evil South American dictator, another a movie mogul and the third was an ambitious nurse.
There is also a giant of a man there to greet her. He advises her that she is to document the life stories of the three people present. Little does she know, at the time, how her avoidance of stepping forward with her life and speaking up when she needed to not only affected the lives of these three individuals but of thousands of others.
As each story is told, it becomes apparent why they evolved the way that they did, and why they made choices which caused them a huge amount of regret. Of course, the dictator caused the most damage during his life. As they reflect, they see how they ended up the way that they did and they know what they could have done to have gone down a different path. Catharine still doesn’t realize how she could have changed things for them, but she becomes very contemplative. The giant man has to frequently remind her to stick to listening to their stories and not focus so much upon herself. During the final moments of this group’s interaction they gain an incredible amount of insight, both from their own life experiences and listening to the others.
I found myself totally caught up in reading “Stories.” Not only was it fascinating to see how the author, C.L. Paur, was able to creatively connect these three individuals to the life of one woman, but the lives of each person was incredibly interesting. It reminded me of the idea of “The Butterfly Effect,” in regards to how a small butterfly flapping its wings can have an effect on the whole planet. I also engaged in a great deal of self reflection. I asked myself, “What will my life story say about me when I go?” I also wondered how much my own actions and words towards others have had a great effect on the lives of others. Working as an educator with adults that have disabilities has made me very conscious of this, but “Stories” by C.L. Paur made me even more contemplative about this. I highly recommend this novel to others, especially readers groups who enjoy great in-depth discussions, because this book will surely initiate a great deal of them!