Friday, January 11, 2013

Nautilus Magazine, January 2013

“Invasion” by Ioana Vișan – One family discovers that the world around them was invaded by some strange creatures. Invasion might be a very strong word for the present short story. The invasion in question comes in lighter tones, it is a peaceful collision between two worlds rather than the harsh definitions usually associated with the term. It is interesting the perspective of the two colliding worlds, looking on each other from an up-side down position. The connection – or a different invasion altogether – between the two is made by the children with their wonderful curiosity of exploring the world and the sweet innocence with which they approach the new things. The story is an intriguing but short exercise of imagination and does not offer more than the barest traces of conflict. It is its only fault and I believe that further development can help it improve.

“Between vultures and humans” by Teodora Matei – Te’Lee falls in love Raa’Ming, but that might not be on the liking and the traditions held by the She-Vultures, the elderly widowed women, who apply the local law according to the Old Book they hold. An enclosed community with strict rules, a heroine who loves to discover and learn new things, a silent conflict smoldering from the new events in Te’Lee’s life. Te’Lee doesn’t question the rules known only by those who impose them and that are followed blindly by her fellow villagers, but her curiosity and questioning of the way tradition is maintained lead the young protagonist to a bending of rules, a silent rebellion through the act of love.

“With the head left back, I can’t detach my sight from the features I don’t see enough. I remade them in my memory for tens and hundreds of times. When I couldn’t do it, I forced myself to forget, to pretend that I never met him, that I didn’t enter in the Stone House, I don’t know his touch and whisper. The next moment I had in my mind, crystal clear, his face; I heard in my thought or in reality ‘Te’Lee, I’ve missed you…’
The last years have been a sway of emotions and feelings; innocent and curious, in the beginning, heartbreaking – towards the end.”

The story breaths through its main character melancholy, despair and resignation, leaves a bitter-sweet after taste, all in a romantic and poetic prose.

“The night rips the seconds one by one, knits them together and throws them back to me – hours, through the bars. I catch them and, as much as I struggle to untangle them, I don’t succeed. Threads of time stick to my fingers and are gathering in rough yarns of feelings.”

As much as I liked the concept and the language of Teodora Matei’s story there were a couple of things that didn’t leave at peace. I understand that according to the She-Vultures’ Old Book and in the eyes of the community Te’Lee’s actions and associations are seen as evil, but there is something more to the vileness of the events and characters that is not completely disclosed. It is only described as such, but it is never clearly defined. The same goes for the supernatural elements, obviously existent, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that is something more to it than it is actually revealed.

There will be the matter of the story’s end but it is difficult to register that as a complaint, more so if the sudden changes are seen in the light of rebellions, especially single-handled ones, hardly ending up in complete happiness.


Ioana Visan said...

Thank you for reviewing my little story, Mihai!

Mihai A. said...

Don't mention it, Ioana! :)