Mysterion, December 2020
Reviewed by Michelle Ristuccia
In “This is the Way the Prayer Ends” by Barbara A. Barnett, Sarah plays piano in her crumbling recital hall as the world ends, where she meets a Christian believer from another walk of life. Several apocalyptic details provide appropriate nods to Christian theology without requiring foreknowledge of such, serving both to set the mood and to wrap up the end. Racism is brought up, but not quite tied to Sarah’s character development, so that its appearance feels like a hot-topic check mark in a story that otherwise centers on Sarah’s love-hate relationship with the piano as an analogy to divine prayer. This story touches on promising concepts of the human condition, but spreads itself thin as it does so.
Michelle Ristuccia enjoys slowing down time in the middle of the night to write, read, and review speculative fiction, because sleeping offspring are the best inspiration. Find her on Facebook and twitter @mrsmica.