Sunday, January 12, 2014

The Memory of a Salt Shaker by Bernard M. Cox

by Bernard M. Cox

The Memory of a Salt Shaker by Bernard M. Cox is a very interesting and engrossing short story. I was poking around the Kindle store looking for titles that might pique my interest when the simplicity of the cover caught my eye. So props to the designer and photographer, Saline Krauss and Robyn Oliver. The basic premise of The Memory of a Salt Shaker is that our unfortunately-named main character, Bert, is just returning to work as a CPA after three weeks bereavement following the death of his wife, Mira. He seems to be doing okay until the salt in his salt shaker begins giving him visions of memories of he and his late wife together. Interestingly, and this is what I think makes this story unique, the memories are from Mira's perspective so Bert gets to experience, for example, how she felt when they first met. Bert eventually figures out the connection between his visions and the salt, and as one would expect from a newly grieving husband he becomes more and more dependent on the last bit of his wife he can hold on to. The author reinforces this connection pretty well by describing Bert as taking "hits" of salt. This was a great story. The characters were lively and well-defined, and the narrative (particularly the visions) were very picturesque. I could see this being a movie with like Bradley Cooper and Olivia Wilde at the helm. Overall, the whole thing just felt organic. All of my praise being said, I do have a couple of issues with this story that keep me from giving a full five stars. The first is that Mira's connection to the salt shaker is not fully defined. Bert tells a psychic medium he consults that Mira stole the shaker from a diner during their honeymoon, but I was still left wondering why this was apparently her most treasured possession that she'd choose to "haunt" it. (Haunt may not be the author's intention but it's the best word I could come up with). The second issue I had was with the ending. It's not that the story had a bad ending, it just didn't work for me. I felt it was a little truncated and didn't fit with the direction of the rest of the story. But I know there will be plenty of readers who completely disagree. Anyway, despite a couple issues this is still a great 20-30 minute read that literary and perhaps maybe romance fans will enjoy.

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