Strange Horizons, June 19, 2017

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Strange Horizons, June 19, 2017

“Darner” by Jonathan Laidlow

Reviewed by Victoria Silverwolf

The protagonist of “Darner” by Jonathan Laidlow is, by her own admission, one who loves to tell lies. When she was a child her mother told her that dragonflies sew up the lips of liars. As a young adult, she majors in the unlikely field of Philosophical Geography. She accompanies her professor through a shopping center. Together they make up myths about the people and places they encounter. At first this seems to be a harmless game, but things soon get out of hand. Years later, returning to the place where events turned sinister, she undergoes a strange transformation, in a way which recalls her mother’s warning. This is an unusual story, often opaque, which might be considered urban fantasy, horror, or slipstream. Some of what occurs can be interpreted as happening only in the imagination of the protagonist, but there is evidence that something supernatural really happens.

Victoria Silverwolf likes dragonflies.