“Then all the gathered friends sat in a circle, raised their glasses and toasted the one whose presence, sympathy and quiet advice had meant so much over the years: the one they all knew as Community.”
Through life and humanity, we are exposed to many characters, names, and faces – many of which we end up reducing to a single description. With back stories that ring true and familiar to many of us, these short stories tell us that, indeed, our characters are what really give us our names.
With each character in each short taking a name of a state of being or characteristic, a common theme is spread through the back stories – identity.
While it is unfair to label a person with just a single characteristic, it is only human nature to notice the more prominent characteristic in the people we meet. As such, regardless of what we think ourselves to be, we do become our most dominant traits in the eyes of the world and will, eventually, seem as such to ourselves.
Another thing you would notice about this collection of stories is how the characters weave into each other’s stories, reminding us that despite conflicts or collaborations, or how much we would like to stay as individuals, the draw towards another person is something human. Community association is shown in its full, honest glory, especially with how each character trait plays a part in the general community – and how each character trait affects the other.
Style & Structure
Each story is presented from a third person point of view in short, fast-paced snippets. This not only quickens the pace and gives the reader a good, light read, it also asks important questions with maximum impact, intertwining various stories together. This not only shows how character impacts us and our identities daily, but also the fact that there is no one way or one root cause of things which happen around us – to quote John Green, “Truth resists simplicity.”
What Gives Us Our Names was written by Alvin Pang and published by Math Paper Press. To find out more about the book, click here.
In the meantime…