The Hero Of Blind Pig Island
A good story has the ability to evoke in a reader’s mind a totally different world to their own – one that transcends time, culture and distance. Jimmy Olsen has achieved this in his collection of short stories.
Each of his tales carried me off on a wild adventure right alongside his characters. As a result I have learnt a great deal about the pleasures and perils of scuba diving and all the intricacies of island life.
I particularly enjoyed Mr Olsen’s use of rich descriptive language with which he peppers each of his stories.
For example, “Chubby gray clouds stampeded before the wind under bellies ripped away.”
As a writer myself, I found myself asking the question – why didn’t I think of that?
Of the twelve stories, my favourite has got to be Denise – which explores the relationship between a novice diver and her instructor. Again Mr Olsen demonstrates that rare talent of completely submerging a reader in the subject. I felt as if I was actually along for the dive. He brings his experience of scuba diving to this piece of writing.
Shot through with pathos, this tale touched me greatly as it tells the story of a teacher who unleashes his pupil’s dreams only to regret it later. Mr Olsen explores the desire to inspire.
His personification of the sea is wonderfully evocative – “The sea is enemy and friend, responding to nothing but its own moods, granting ecstasy or terror with capricious indifference.”
The Hero of Blind Pig Island is the story that lends it’s title to the collection and is apt as it explores aspects of human weakness and foibles.
It draws a stark contrast in the appalling divide between the rich and the poor describing how one man learns to control his anger whilst out fishing with his grand son, channelling it into something worthwhile and thereby gains the moral upper hand. He sets out to disable the enemy’s vessel and then offers him a way out if the em passé by being the better man. The message is loud and clear – take away the trappings of wealth and get down to the basics of human compassion and the pleasurable pursuit of fishing and you have the remedy to any argument!
I can honestly say that I was impressed by his style of writing as it became apparent to me that Mr Olsen is a writer of some calibre. His background in teaching could account for his elegance of style.
I immediately came to the conclusion that this piece of literature possessed a timeless quality to it.
It is this style that transcends the genre spectre. Some tales are shot through with humour whilst other explore deeper themes.
If you appreciate beautifully crafted writing then I would not hesitate recommending this collection. I feel its purpose is to entertain, teach and inspire and that surely is the hallmark of good story telling.