This is going to be a short review.
With the new collection of short stories from Tom Hanks, I have learned that short can sometimes be sweet.
Uncommon Type features a range of stories set all across America and a span of times. They are all connected by – of all things – typewriters.
Hanks is famous for collecting different types of typewriters. Well, that’s a lie – he’s famous for many, many films, but he is known by some to be a collector of different typewriters, and it’s through these machines that we view the different strands of Hanks’ collection.
This isn’t a book about typewriters though, it is – as I suspect most short story collections are – about the human condition. Perhaps most books are about that, but I think it’s more prevalent, more obvious in short stories.
There are some that are clear – like the one that is about a woman moving to a new neighbourhood and learning to look past her pre-conceptions – while there are others that take a little more thought, where their meaning is more subjective.
Some are thought-provoking, some are funny, but all of them are nice, distracting little vignettes.
When I wrote about Tin Man – I cited it as a short book, a mere two hundred pages – but the stories in here average about twenty pages, just a tenth of the size.
Short stories are not something you’re going to lose yourself in, it would be hard to lose yourself in their worlds for an extended period of time, but for those of us who don’t have much time, or want to fall in love with reading again this might be the place to start.
Uncommon Type is a beautiful collection of tales from a surprising – yet unsurprising – source. After all, is anyone truly astonished to discover that Hanks can write as well as everything else he can do?
Uncommon Type is published on 17th October by William Heinemann