A Second, Less Capable Head

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A Second, Less Capable Head by James Hanna is a gorgeous collection of hugely entertaining short stories, nineteen of them in total, that are well-crafted and read like delectable treats. The opening tale grabs the reader from all sides — the power of descriptive verse, the careful use of symbolism, and the tantalizing, somewhat taunting dialogue are powerful elements that drive success to this and other stories. Mr. Ploughright feels a lump of what he considers to be cancer growing on his neck and when he consults a doctor, asking that the thing be removed, the doctor tells him unapologetically: “Look closely, Mr. Ploughright. You are growing another head.” How the story plays out is an irresistible invitation to check out the other stories, a promise that Hanna fulfills with utmost brilliance and skill.

Whether writing about humans growing second heads or “Thumbelinas,” the small creatures that insult men, or about the weird flasher seeking the best pose, or the schizophrenic, Hanna comes across as witty and imaginatively creative. Yes, the reader will laugh his or her way through this dazzling collection, but he or she will have to pause occasionally to think about the symbolic use of language, the dramatic and insightful dialogues, and the all-absorbing narrative.

As one reads through each of the stories in A Second, Less Capable Head, one gets the impression that one is reading from a master of the short story, and it is very exciting to see how, in few paragraphs, Hanna reveals a lot about his compelling characters, builds a tension that grabs the reader’s attention completely, and guides the reader to satisfying denouements. These are little gems that lovers of short stories will relish. Hanna’s short stories cover a wide range of themes, featuring characters drawn from different powerful settings, and well-crafted to entertain and provoke readers to laughter and reflection. James Hanna is an entertainer with the wisdom culled from multiple backgrounds.

Reviewed By:

Author James Hanna
Star Count /5
Format eBook
Page Count 254 pages
Publisher Sand Hill Review Press
Publish Date 2016-08-01
ISBN 9781937818395
Bookshop.org Buy this Book
Issue August 2016
Category Modern Literature


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