The Best People In The World!

Saturday, July 9, 2011


It's always a treasure when you come across a book that challenges you and the person you are in the inside. Too often we discuss what we would do in any number of situations but until we are actually in them out emotions can get in the way of making a logical choice.

In the novel Quintet by Hugh Aaron, who is becoming a bit of a close personal friend through his writings, I think people may have overlooked his ability to really dig deep into our souls. Quintet is comprised of five short novellas each with a different theme, I will use Hugh's brief summaries to outline each of them:

1. Doctor Banner's Garden: A retired elderly professor, who life is coming to a close and her female cohort are rejuvenated when three young college student enter their lives.

2. Family Agenda's: A Jewish son is ticked into taking over the family business in a ruse to break up his relationship with a Catholic girl. A story about generational conflict, aging and letting go.

3. Ambition: Deals with racial prejudice in business, the seeking of power and the liberal hypocrisy. Can business overcome black and white prejudice in our greater society?

4. The Ultimate Success: A businessman, well respected in his community commits fraud, bringing disgrace on himself and his family. A tale of destruction.

5. A Son's Father, A Father's Son: A Tale of Two Wars: is about the tragic consequences wrought by war on an American family concerning events during WWII and Vietnam.

Each one of these feels like you are witnessing a deep secret that families don't discuss between their closest friends, and yet you, as the reader have a front seat into some of the darkest moments in their lives. In each one, it really drills you to the core of your personal beliefs and asks the proverbial question, what would you do?

Each of these stories would be great high school or college level recommendations to delve into the reasons why it drives people to do the things they do, whether they want to or not. Some of out selfish greed, hatred, pride and just plain survival. I myself wanted to know what the moral outcome was in each, and I feel satisfied I have found the answers that work for me.

The one story I did connect deeply with was Family Agenda's. Each person in every family has an agenda that they would love to orchestrate and see played out in whatever manner suits them best. For me, I could relate how much the parents were pretty much set in their ways based on what life had dealt them living in the days of the Great Depression, while their children could see the prosperity that comes from working hard and learning from past mistakes. With my own father and I, we are at a stand still in our own conversations about what the agendas are in our lives, and I have made peace with mine.

I did find the story The Ultimate Success, humorous at times and one for this generation who thinks life can be given to them if they know how to obtain it just right. There is always a cost to everything and just what are some willing to give in the pursuit!

These are a great collection of very different subject matters and a true joy to have shared in the experience of just reading and learning from each one. I received this book compliments of Hugh Aaron for my honest review and would highly recommend them to anyone seeking to understand human behavior and why we act the way we do. I rate this book a 5 out of 5 stars and would caution some of my sensitive readers that some of the stories can be quite disturbing in their content, such as A Son's Father and a Father's Son, dealing with things that happened in the war most won't discuss.

For more information about the book, the author and where to purchase a copy, please click on the links below:

Quintet by Hugh Aaron

You can also follow Hugh Aaron on his blog by clicking here

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