Strange Horizons, 19 December 2005

Note: This post was imported from an old content-management system, so please excuse any inconsistencies in formatting.
"The Taste of Chicory at High Tide" by Lisa Mantchev
"Goat" by Jenn Reese

You should probably go ahead and read "The Taste of Chicory at High Tide" by Lisa Mantchev before checking out this review.  It is the story of a "blues-singin’, hoodoo slingin’ mistress."  She’s been having a tough time lately and feels like packing it in, so she calls an old beau to come down and save her from the ruin her life has become.  And he shows up, because he can’t do anything else.

Mantchev’s description starts out so vivid that it is almost too much.  If the story or characters were different, it would be too much, but this time it turns out just right.  The sentences are so packed with imagery that it’s best for the reader to just let go and let them flow like the mighty Mississippi River.

There are several layers of metaphor.  The most obvious being the lady as New Orleans and her beau as New York City.  But they can also the South and the North, or any other dichotomy our country has been divided into over the last few years—two sides that kick each other around every time they meet.   But when things get bad for one, the other is there to pick her up and set her on her feet again.  A nice message that doesn’t overwhelm the story.

"Goat" is the final installment in Jenn Reese‘s Tales of the Chinese Zodiac.  This one is more humorous than the previous tales, with the main character falling in love with a toy goat.  As always, the story is well written and worth checking out.