Toronto Raconteur Geoff Smith Releases Captivating Short Story Collection

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Author Geoff Smith’s ‘The Brotherhood of Ulan and Other Stories’ offers a collection of intriguing, thought-provoking and mysterious tales from one of Toronto’s best loved speakers and storytellers.

'The Brotherhood of Ulan and Other Stories' by Geoffrey Smith

More than mere entertainment, Geoff’s tales often touch upon deep questions about how we should live, the nature of reality, and the meaning of life itself—and all while avoiding moralizing.

Wide-spread reports of Netflix bingeing demonstrate that, quarantine or not, as a species, we love to get lost in a good story—perhaps now more than ever. For those of a more literary bent, Geoff Smith’s new collection, ‘The Brotherhood of Ulan and Other Stories’ offers a collection of delightful and provocative short stories providing an alternative antidote to the boredom and anxiety of life in the age of Coronavirus.

Geoff’s collection covers a wide swath of genres and styles that will appeal to diverse readers. The title story, ‘The Brotherhood of Ulan,” tells of an engaged couple on a journey who by chance stay at an off-the-beaten path lodge run by an apparent cult wishing to offer more than a warm bed and simple hospitality. A mix of contemporary fiction and whodunnit, Geoff keeps the reader in sustained suspense, while touching upon themes that echo throughout several of the stories: Duplicity. Deception. Intrigue. Subterfuge. Ulterior motives.

Scoundrels, scammers and other sinister, yet charismatic, characters abound, motivated by power, greed, and control. ‘Green Jalapeños’ offers just such a mix, along with a twist ending that’s at once painful and delightful.

An experienced traveler, Geoff’s characters come from his imagination and from composites of the many unusual, often quirky, people met in his travels. They come from among the rich and powerful, the vagabonds, and all manner in between.

Several stories offer a touch of magical realism and mysticism (e.g., “The Witch of Gudvangen,” “Revelation In Madrid,” “The Ghost of Omar,” and “The Magician”). Two come from the point of view of an animal. (“Lessons From A Past Life,” features a man telling a story from his past life as a frog; and the closing story of the collection, whereas ‘Take Care, Big Guy’ offers an imaginative peek into the mind of a family’s beloved canine). “Safe New World” thrusts the reader into an overly socially-engineered London—in the year 2090, serving as both an occasion of humor, and a warning shot.

A Canadian citizen who is British by birth, Geoff transports readers to many idyllic European locales, including the cold, foggy streets of east end London, the shimmering red hills of Tuscany, and the busy walking square Puerta Del Sol in Madrid.

More than mere entertainment, Geoff’s tales often touch upon deep questions about how we should live, the nature of reality, and the meaning of life itself—and all while avoiding moralizing.

While better-known for his vocal storytelling, Geoff maintains the fundamentals remain, whether spoken or written.

“A good story contains a sense of mystery or magic. It is based on truth, though, as with all myths, it may be enlivened with color and imagination. Finally, it delivers an ethical message or lesson without being preachy,” says Geoff.

The introduction of the book opens with a quote from Brandon Sanderson about the mission of the storyteller:

“[It] is not to tell you how to think, but to give you questions to think upon.”

On that front, Geoff’s collection certainly delivers.

Geoff’s collection will appeal to readers with diverse literary interests, including readers of classic authors like Guy Henri De Maupassant, and the more recent Somerset Maugham, as well as fans of contemporaries like Roald Dahl and Jeffrey Archer.

Thinking readers who enjoy a though-provoking premise, a pithy twist (or two), and a challenge to everyday assumptions will find plenty to enjoy in Geoff Smith’s inaugural, binge-worthy short story collection.

‘The Brotherhood of Ulan and Other Stories’ is available in both paperback and eBook format at all major online eBook retailers.

About Geoffrey Smith?
Geoff Smith is a 45-year veteran of Toastmasters International, author of “The Art of Effective Living” and “The Art of Effective Communication” and founder of a 4-day seminar called “The Renewal Seminars” a unique journey of self-discovery called “Vision Renaissance.” Widely traveled, most of his stories are based on personal experiences.

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