This week I’ve read three free short stories by Norman Crane. While his serial novels seem to lean toward science fiction, the only word I can find to describe these shorts is “eerie.”
(An aside as to how I selected these short stories – I found the first one during a search for free books with the word “crane.” I was looking for picture books about cranes or more specifically, origami cranes, after taking my 2-year-old daughter to the local Donut Palace for Father’s Day treats. There were origami cranes hanging above the counter and everyone – myself more than anyone else, I’m sure – was impressed when she pointed them out and clearly said “crane.” No clue how she identified them! BTW – I didn’t find any free picture books about either real cranes or origami cranes.)
So, one of the free books I came up with during that search was “Don Whitman’s Masterpiece.” I felt kind of lost and found myself re-reading a lot of paragraphs in this story, as it doesn’t seem to be quite in the right order. But it all ties well enough in the end to bring everything together in a way that’s understandable. This is a creepy tale of the curiousity of boys and facing danger. I didn’t feel like it was the best of what I’ve read from Crane, but it was intriguing in a haunting sort of way.
This story (like the others) was very short – no complaint, it was free after all! So I decided to see if there were other free short stories available. The next I read was “Dear Bette Davis,” a tale about a young boy and the way smoking was glamorized in old movies that will leave a harsh taste in your mouth. It wasn’t what I would call an “enjoyable” read, but this tale seemed to be much more linear than “Don Whitman’s Masterpiece” and still had a quality that drew the reader in.
My last foray into Crane’s short stories was “The Boy Who Spoke Mosquito.” This tale may have been the creepiest of the three. It was the story of a boy who was very different from other boys his age and the way he was bullied and what, eventually, he did about it.
These three tales definitely weren’t lazy reading for comfortable days, but if you want some reading that will haunt your thoughts, Crane is a great storyteller whose work will definitely provide some unique fodder for your nightmares.
Due to length, I definitely wouldn’t pay for any of these works individually, but I might as part of a larger collection of 10 or so works – although I didn’t see anything of this nature offered. But, these stories also appear to be offered as freebies to draw readers into his serials and longer works.