As you might have noticed from previous weeks, I’ve been reading a lot of short fiction. This makes reviews a little difficult because to give a piece of any length justice requires its own space, and tiny summaries are too easy to spoil. However, I’m currently about halfway through The Way of the Wizard (edited by John Joseph Adams) and I had to bring The Secret of Calling Rabbits by Wendy N. Wagner to your attention.
There are a lot of good stories in the anthology so far that I’ve enjoyed, along with noticing an odd trend toward trailing off stories rather than ending with a bang. At some point I want to try for a review of the whole thing, just because I’ve enjoyed so many.
However, The Secret of Calling Rabbits caught my attention so strongly because it’s so much more than it seems. The overt story is simple, a connection made that proves too great for caution. While that story is well told, it’s the subtexts that made me want to wave a flag for this tale. Underlying the simple story is the question of forgiveness, fate, the relationships between two peoples, and the connections between them.
Then, as if that wasn’t enough, it doesn’t end with a happy go lucky, everything fine and dandy moment as much as I wanted it to. Instead, it points to irony and blindness in the last moment, leaving me with a bitter but satisfied feeling. This was not one of the stories that trails off. It is strong from the first moment to the last, and holds the heart of what I look for in culture clash fiction. This story is what I try to achieve in my own, and even if none of the other stories in the anthology connected with me (not true but supposing), this would have made it worth reading.