UNCOMMON TYPE by Tom Hanks
William Heinemann ISBN-13: 978-1785151514
This is Tom Hanks’s first collection of short stories. Yes, Tom Hanks the actor. He writes, too – and very well, damnit!
Uncommon Type’s eclectic mix of stories have one common theme: a typewriter features in each. We’re not talking about electrics or word processors; these honest-to-goodness machines date back to the earliest models – and some have magical abilities, bringing people together, getting them talking, helping them to pause and reflect, to appreciate what is important – and ultimately find a joy in life which is there for the taking if they only connect.
A wry humour perfuses the stories in this anthology – Hanks is clearly a Hollywood megastar who doesn’t take himself too seriously – so in A Junket in the City of Light, we’re given a rueful glimpse of what it’s really like for actors promoting a new film on the circuit. And it’s the ingenue, ‘Dumb as a box of hair’, who proves wisest among the wise-assed cynics who surround him. On a more (literally) sober note, A Month on Greene Street rejoices in the possibility of redemption and happiness. Some stories are more successful than others, but most readers will find something to admire among the light and dark, humour and pathos, pragmatism and weirdness, nostalgia, and yes – sentimentality. It’s a delight.