Diabolical Plots #27B, May 2017
Reviewed by Laura Gobourn
“The Aunties Return the Ocean” by Chris Kuriata is a cautionary fairytale about greed and why it can’t be trusted. The Aunties closely resemble the witches of old fairytales, creatures imbued with magical powers who think only of their own selfish wants.
The dramatic act of sealing the ocean for ransom is where the story starts. Auntie Roberta has hidden armfuls of ocean in her house and has to be careful that her neighbours don’t find out. Once the ransom demands are met she and the other Aunties return the ocean, but there the trouble really begins.
The saying ‘be careful what you wish for’ is played out beautifully here. The Aunties essentially distrustful nature is their undoing as the ocean they return is only half of what it was. The beaten down neighbours mourn their losses, whilst the Aunties live the high life.
I will repeat here the warning at the start of the story, Content warning for harm to children. This is not explicit; it fits into the fairytale setting and only goes to highlight the witch-like persona of the Aunties.
The desperation of the neighbours and the slow realisation of Auntie Roberta to the changing world around her is believably told. The ending is poignant and leaves you with the thought that more attention could be paid to how beautiful our world is.