Jeffrey Archer has enriched us with his ability for short stories for many years. One of his best compilations is To Cut a Long Story Short written in the year 2000. Archer was born in England and has been involved all his life in politics and economics of his hometown; Cambridge. It is in his late years he begins writing and in his works he expresses his experiences in his previous careers.
The book is full of events that occurred in real life, either that Archer lived or about people he knew. The themes in the book create a pattern that makes each story part of a whole. You can clearly see how he wants to criticize the human condition and the current society. For example, “The Endgame” is a story about a man who fakes his bankruptcy to test his closest friends and relatives. He wants to prove who would stay with him even if he lost all his fortune. Right there you can see a strong critique to the ambition nowadays, how money controls people feelings and the power it has over love and care. In another story he makes a strong attack to the law and mocks it. “Crime Pays” is about a genius criminal who never gets caught and when he gets caught is because he planned it to be that way. With this Archer is showing how the court has huge flaws and how a single man can bring it down playing with their minds. This connects to the fact that Jeffrey Archer was sentenced in jail for perjury. With these two examples you have an idea of what the book, as a whole wants to speak out. Besides this two themes of legal matters and ambition there are many others such as; political weaknesses, racism, adultery, and even love at first sight. All this are issues that reflect the human behavior and immoral decisions, not necessarily this being negative.
“The key to a great short story is to never give away the . . .” (Archer, J)
Jeffrey Archer quoted this at the beginning of his book and it is a constant element in every single of his stories. He is definitely a master in story telling by creating a fascinating suspense that leaves the reader anxious, but satisfied. In my opinion, this is the best part of reading this book. Every time you finish a story you feel excitement to make up the future for its characters. The characters grow on you, forcing you to give them an end. If not they will never leave your mind. Archer has an admirable ability in captivating the writer and for it is that he is known as the best.
I would absolutely recommend this book to anyone, even if you think you do not like short stories. I say this because I thought that before reading it and all it caused was for me to love such genre of writing. Besides that these specific short stories are written wonderfully and the themes touched in them are of general interest; critiques to our human behaviors.