This is a lovely collection of microfiction, which often teasingly looks over the edge at poetry in the imagery, the choice of words, the spare precise nature of the prose. It’s a collection of fable-like stories, some of them more familiar than others, all of them given their own little twist. There were a few that didn’t really strike me, but microfiction is a very difficult art, and I think Yoon Ha Lee does an amazing job with the form. Each word has to be necessary — done. Each image has to evoke a picture, an emotion, a perfect still moment — done.
I also liked that gender is not a major thing in these stories. It shifts. Someone is referred to as someone’s son, and yet the pronoun is ‘they’. It’s noticeable at first because people don’t usually do it, but I quickly got used to it, and it’s a part of the narrative voice. (Some characters are ‘she’ or ‘he’; it also depends on the character, the story.)
I know Yoon Ha Lee has a sci-fi book deal with Solaris, and I’m definitely looking forward to that on the strength of this.