June 8, 2005
I have just read and enjoyed Michael Hoffmans The Coat
That Covers Him and Other Stories. It was a long but worthwhile read written in a unique style. Six shorter stories
set the mood for the main story. An artful combination of plots drive these stories with subjects ranging from a man
who believes that he is a murderer and is approached by a young girl looking to sell her body to him followed by a man who
loses his key thus creating an unexpected chain of events that you’d never imagine. (The ideas are so witty and complex
that I am allowing myself a run on sentence with this one!)
The main story, however, is about Sidney Levin. Sid
is a well-traveled man involved in a love triangle between his wife Natalie and his Japanese girlfriend Keiko. He lost Keiko
as she married another man named Jon many years before. After Jon dies, he pounces on the opportunity to rekindle that
flame with Keiko. However, he willingly submits to the advances of Keiko’s teenage daughter Mariko and she is impregnated.
She moves in with her Uncle and Sid seems to settle for Natalie but the story does not really end there?
These stories will engage various senses as you read, comprehend
and digest the material. It is written in a poetic form that grants the stories and the characters an added sense of
tangibility as some of the emotions, reactions and responses are experienced by all of us in some small way. Hoffmans travels
to Japan and Canada serve as a common theme as the characters always seem to end up or exist in one of those locations or
the other, with Japan being the predominant location.
Add The Coat That Covers Him and Other Stories.
to your summer reading list! If you’re looking for an engaging read that could be accomplished in a day or even
a week you will find it in the pages of this book.
Reviewed by Tyrone V. Banks