Kaleidoscope | Critical Book Review

Derrick R. Lafayette’s Kaleidoscope challenges traditional storytelling boundaries with its collection of five short stories and a novella, each delving into the enigmatic recesses of human experience. Erin Britton navigates this genre-busting journey in her review of Fictional Cafe Press’s latest offering.

Peculiar Realms Explored

Lafayette’s tales traverse time, space, and genre, presenting peculiar, mind-bending, and occasionally disconcerting narratives. Each story, whether set in the contemporary chaos of COVID-19, a post-apocalyptic world scarred by nuclear war, or entirely different temporal and spatial landscapes, tackles profoundly human struggles in extraordinary settings.

“The Oddity of Jo Bobby and the Seven Doors”

The collection opens with a Western tale, “The Oddity of Jo Bobby and the Seven Doors,” where bounty hunters Charlie and Sonny’s pursuit of a fugitive takes a surreal turn. What begins as a gritty Western evolves into a disorienting fairy tale, introducing seven mysterious doors that promise to change the hunters’ lives forever.

“The Problem”

Following is “The Problem,” a medieval fantasy narrating a father-daughter duo’s perilous quest to save a mother trapped within the living bark of the Melancholy Tree. Swords and sorcery give way to peculiar creatures, deadly spirits, and a relentless pursuit to outsmart the malevolent Darkness.

“The Witness”

In “The Witness,” Lafayette explores the unraveling and potential redemption of an unnamed man navigating a city amid a breakdown after encountering a perfect being. The story unfolds in an unflinching monologue, blurring the lines between reality and hallucination, offering a poignant exploration of paranoia and blind faith.

“The Sixty-Five Percent”

The tone shifts to a fantastical science fiction nightmare in “The Sixty-Five Percent.” Set in the midst of a brutal war, the story introduces Abbot and Leeto, scientists experimenting on a captured enemy amid an attack by artificial beings. Lafayette’s detailed worldbuilding creates a chilling and plausible futuristic landscape.

“Heather, Ludwig, and Nathaniel”

The collection concludes with a novella, “Heather, Ludwig, and Nathaniel,” depicting the lives of a family leading up to the COVID-19 pandemic. The novella resonates with the reality of pandemic life, intertwining mysterious elements and magical realism. Lafayette skillfully portrays the ordinary altered by extraordinary circumstances.

A Multilayered Kaleidoscope

In Kaleidoscope, Lafayette invites readers to perceive the world through colored glass, revealing stories that demand deep consideration and offer unexpected twists. With its diverse genres and subjects, the collection ensures there’s something for everyone, encouraging repeated readings to unveil new layers of each tale.

Publisher, Genre, Print Length, and ISBN

PublisherGenrePrint LengthISBN
Fictional Cafe PressShort Story Collection / Magical Realism362 pages9780984036998

Derrick R. Lafayette’s Kaleidoscope challenges traditional storytelling boundaries with its collection of five short stories and a novella, each delving into the enigmatic recesses of human experience. Erin Britton navigates this genre-busting journey in her review of Fictional Cafe Press’s latest offering. Peculiar Realms Explored Lafayette’s tales traverse time, space, and genre, presenting peculiar, mind-bending,…