Culloden Tales
by James McCormack, historical (2008)
Lulu, $8.50, ISBN 978-0-557-00125-5

Culloden Tales is a slim collection of fictionalized accounts of what the Campbell family went through during the Jacobite uprising of Scotland. The stories present here are indeed very short, averaging about eight pages, but they cover everything from love (given a melodramatic treatment worthy of an exclusive Céline Dion anthem), comradeship, suffering, sacrifice, and, of course, violence.

The problem with these stories is that they are not only short, for one, they also leave little to no impression on me. Reading this collection of stories is akin to nibbling absently at wheat biscuits while staring ahead into the distance - the stories are readable but they aren't particularly tasty in a memorable manner. Some of the stories are actually too clichéd for their own good, such as the one where a grandmother relates to a boy the story of her grand but lost love - I can see the sentimental ending coming a mile away. When I bought this collection, I was hoping for stories that will stir my emotions, but alas, I suppose things just aren't meant to be.

It also doesn't help that Mr McCormack tells too much instead of showing me things so much of a story tend to consist of a character lecturing to another character about something and everything. The monotonous style of writing makes Culloden Tales too easy to put aside and forget.

The ambition is there, the intention is admirable, but Culloden Tales doesn't quite deliver the goods.

Rating: 63

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