In these stories, Jemisin sharply examines modern society, infusing magic into the mundane, and drawing deft parallels in the fantasy realms of her imagination. Dragons and hateful spirits haunt the flooded city of New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. In a parallel universe, a utopian society watches our world, trying to learn from our mistakes. A black mother in the Jim Crow south must figure out how to save her daughter from a fey offering impossible promises. And in the Hugo award-nominated short story “The City Born Great,” a young street kid fights to give birth to an old metropolis’s soul.
I’ve recently been making my way through this authors ” Broken Earth ” trilogy – one book to go- and the way she writes is so creative, beautifully done, so as a fan of short stories generally I was looking forward to this.
There is an art to the short story form, not every author no matter how talented can pull them off, but N K Jemisin certainly can. In this collection we have varying lengths but each one is a small gem unto itself, exploring many themes, a lot of them melancholy and thought provoking.
Each one is involving and beautiful, sometimes really emotional and at times scary. I was particularly taken with “The City Born Great” with it’s descriptive, sprawling metropolis and “The Elevator Dancer” which packs a whole load of punch and relevance into a very small narrative.
There isn’t a single failure here, I mean I could mention so many and give you reasons why it’s better than the last (The You Train for example left me feeling vaguely sad for days and says so much without saying anything much at all) or I could describe them all in minute detail but to my mind you should just dive in and appreciate each on your own terms.
There is a gorgeous little gift of a tale in here for fans of the aforementioned Broken Earth trilogy too. Excellent.
Loved this. Let’s hope N K Jemisin offers us more of these in the future. Like Stephen King she has the art of it down- whether the setting is our world or another, these are little snapshots of the soul.