Sunday, February 04, 2018

The Fish and the Ghost

I never get tired of hearing strange tales about sea life. Last night I read "As Water Is In Water", the new Caitlin R. Kiernan story in The Sirenia Digest in which the author once again combines knack for spinning narratives of fundamental disorientation with the aesthetic of sea life.

Told from the perspective of a woman visiting a therapist, we learn of the protagonist's strange, possibly false, memory of seeing a rain of fish, squid, snails, and other normally undersea things fall down on her home. There's also a similarly uncertain memory of a ghost that's introduced in a nicely, effectively ominous way.

Some of the most interesting aspects of the story, though, are parts where the narrator pokes holes in the presumptions of the therapist/patient relationship. It's easy to see the narrator's frustration when the therapist claims to accept the truth of everything the narrator says while also acknowledging the treachery of memory, somewhat sidestepping the obvious human capacity for lying. A relationship designed to create a sense of trust thereby instead creates a more fundamental, deep distrust.

The supernatural elements help illustrate this while also giving the story an essential beauty. A very nice work.

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