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The Carriage Driver by Michael Friedman – a review
The Carriage Driver - Paperback
Michael Friedman's most recent published book, The Carriage Driver, took my breath away. Although I read the pre-published version that was published in HubPages, and although I have come to terms with the fact that electronic books are here to stay, the real book blew me away.
Here I was holding The Carriage Driver in my hand – a real, brand new book! It smelled like a book, it felt like a book. This was quite a thrill after reading too many e-books and online articles in a short time! Did I say that I've read the pre-published version online? I have to emphasize that reading an electronic book is one thing, and reading a real book is a total different experience. Something about paper, about black words printed on paper, about holding a book in one’s hands, makes reading a soul-enriching experience.
The cover of The Carriage Driver is a picture of an antique carriage pulled by a beautiful white horse (named Nuelle). The snow-covered road doesn't go unnoticed. One may get the idea that they are about to read a historical novel, but the blurb immediately warns -
The hereafter or afterlife holds many mysteries…
The blurb contains comments that were left on chapters that were published in HubPages. To my surprise one of my own comments is displayed. “Excellent and quite mysterious!” Wow, a comment of mine on the cover of an accomplished author’s book? What an honour! Well, for a writer that is not yet the author of a published book, this is surely something to brag about.
And this was it! The world and all responsibilities can wait, I am not available for the next hour or two, I decided while getting ready for my trip into the world of The Carriage Driver.
The Introduction, Foreward and Preface
As usual, I never skip reading an introduction, which, for The Carriage Driver, was written by surely the best writer of introductions and blurbs: the author, editor, nurse, teacher, Maria Jordan. “A well-crafted story has the power to change one’s experience of reality,” she explains before telling the reader that The Carriage Driver is a book with healing powers as it has the power to change one’s experience of reality.
And, indeed, it has! As I was reading one chapter after the other, my fear of dying, of knowing that I’m dying, of not knowing what was waiting for me the moment I give my last breath, disappeared. (And ever since I’ve read The Carriage Driver, I simply remember a story or two in this unforgettable collection.)
But here I was still busy preparing myself for an hour or two with The Carriage Driver. The foreword, written by the author, Genna Eastman, assured me that I was going to read a genuine Mike Friedman masterpiece. (Well, I knew this, as I’ve read those chapters that were published in HubPages.)
And then came the preface, written by Friedman himself. “We are all led to believe that there is life after death… We are all familiar with images of the boatman in a dark pool…”
And of the tunnel with the bright light at the end, I may add.
The Carriage Driver - Fiction
Now don’t get me wrong. The Carriage Driver is not a documentary with true stories about near-death experiences, or about people who came back after they had spent some time in Heaven or Hell. The Carriage Driver is fiction – an anthology of short stories about people who have come to the end of their lives as humans on this planet Earth.
The Carriage Driver is also not about Heaven or Hell, but about the journey – that unknown journey between Earth and Heaven (or Hell).
And who says the stories in The Carriage Driver are not a true forecast of that journey we know nothing about. Perhaps Friedman was also blessed by that same Holy Spirit that compelled the writings in the Bible. Who says, and what great victories have he to his credit to tell us that we may not believe that the trip to Heaven will meet all our expectations?
Be that as it may, the short stories compiled in The Carriage Driver gave wings to my imagination, and it will most certainly give wings to any active imagination. It gave me a new perception of what may very well happen when I step into the world hereafter. It expanded my ideas and perception of dying. After all, ideas and perceptions are tools we may use to control our fears.
The power of fiction should never be under-estimated.
Extracts from the Carriage Driver
Friedman’s vivid descriptions and appealing writing style always turn a story on paper (or on a screen) into a movie in a readers mind. This is why he has been one of my favourite authors for the past six years.
The Carriage Driver sat up straight and adjusted his eyes to the evening light. Nuelle stirred but did not take a step. “Hold on,” the old man said. He looked across the grass of the park as a woman hurried towards them. She was carrying something but at a distance he could not make it out. When she arrived next to the carriage, the old man could see she was wearing scrubs and carrying a baby.
Three emergency vehicles raced from the exit drives… one each bound for John Hopkins Hospital. Their sirens cut the silence of the black cold night. The organ transplant system was working full tilt.
“Nuelle pulled from the curb. The wheels rattled along the cobblestones. The Carriage Driver sat straight and was amused as Nuelle led them first down one street then another. She then turned up toward the park, then along a path of the St. Charles. She was slow and deliberate. She went past gazebos trellised with honeysuckle and down a street with clothes billowing on a clothes line. The Carriage Driver realized that Nuelle wanted her passenger to see his first dawn (in the Hereafter).
Michael Friedman, the author, illustrator, publisher
Visiting Michael Friedman's page at www.amazon.com, a library of books appears on the screen. Books written by himself and by others, as he is not only Michael Friedman the Author, Michael Friedman the Illustrator, mckbirdbk @ Hubpages, but also Mockingbird Books and Publishing.
Friedman’s Hubpages awards are nowhere on display, except on Hubpages’ blogs – So, I’ve decided to send him a gift – a poster displaying all his awards.
2012-hubbie-award-winners - Best Fiction Writer
2013-hubbie-award-winners - Best Fiction Writer
2015-hubbie-award-winners - Best Fiction Writer
Recommended reviews of the Carriage Driver
"The Carriage Driver hears a calling. He prepares Nuelle and the carriage for the final journey. He offers a blanket of comfort and delivers you anywhere you want to go."
"A unique author sharing his stories on HubPages shows magical growth in depth and breadth of content over time. If body or spirit needs refreshing, these are the places to visit, any time of life."