Review: Ex Parte – Episodes of Existential Fiction by Sheli Ellsworth


☆☆➹⁀☆ 5 stars☆➹⁀☆☆



What it’s about:

Ex Parte is a 26 chapter, 163 page diverse collection that ushers the literary reader on a whirlwind of exploits. Written through the eyes of both the honorable and ignominious, Ellsworth explored the world with optimistic verism. Cover image by artist Marjorie Loori-Moore and chapter sketches by George Robertson.

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Guest review from Mo:

I’ve always enjoyed the short story format and the convenience it affords so, when I was offered the opportunity to read Ex Parte by Sheli Ellsworth, I was happy to take it! I was not prepared for the breadth and width of her voices & story telling abilities!

Least the sub tittle “Episodes in Existential Fiction” be a bit off putting,  this is not the dark and dreary existentialism of Kierkegaard & Sarte. Here is an open window with fresh takes & subtle reasons flowing through like a summer breeze.

Ms. Ellsworth’s characters may be quickly drawn as dictated by the medium, yet all come to the pages fully realized and recognizable. Not only did I know these people, I am these people!

From the very first lines of Lynchburg Correctional, 1845,  I felt the stifling heat, filth and revulsion of the new prison warden. His steadfast belief, in treating his hardened and pitiful charges with empathy, bring a surprising tension. Just how far will his conscious push him?

There are sweet & simple stories of ordinary lives. Stories like Lunch Date are only a few paragraphs but tell a lovely tale of a recent widower & his awkward re-emergence into a social life.

Fortune in the Fountain, is a surprisingly touching tale of an observant beat cop and the pint-sized neighborhood thief who he just can’t bring himself to collar.

I thoroughly enjoyed Ms. Ellsworth’s episodes. She has created a world where synchronicity & serendipity are part & parcel of the existential experience.

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