Strange Horizons, 23 January 2006

Note: This post was imported from an old content-management system, so please excuse any inconsistencies in formatting.

"Estrangement" by Kit St. Germain

Review by Aimee Poynter

"Estrangement" by Kit St. Germain is the story of Devaki Hannah, a young Scottish teenager, living in the United States in the early to mid 1960s.  Devaki’s parents are part of the new age movement, and are willing to use their abilities in the occult to protect their daughter.

There is a sweet story about the strength of family connections in "Estrangement."  Unfortunately, it is obscured by choppy sentences and awkward dialogue.  While there were some lovely moments, specifically the first appearance of Devaki’s protector, the story just seemed a little too rough for my taste.

And presenting another viewpoint is Jason Fischer:

This is quite a subtle tale, but sprinkled with the right amount of fun stuff.  While it deals strictly in tropes (oddball parents dabbling in sorcery, a protective spirit that is summoned to guard their daughter), it is the little differences that make this piece and give it the flavour of authenticity. 
The protagonist is a believable and likeable young woman, completely in sync with the background given to her.  If you met a young woman, home schooled and raised by a pair of esoteric loons, she would speak with a voice as authentic as this character.
It was also nice to see a U.S. author depict characters from Somewhere Else without resorting to stereotypes and lazy writing. For example, despite having several Scots in this story, there is not a kilt, caber tossing, or mention of haggis anywhere.  One of the subtle nuances that really worked in this vein: “Finally, shaking like a leaf, she got into the "wrong" side of the giant American station wagon and drove…”
This is not a ground-breaking story by any means, but it was still a real pleasure to read.  Kit St. Germain shows great promise!