Hullo, everyone, welcome, welcome to a slow, chill Monday post. It’s nice and short and groovy, and it’s about an Alix E. Harrow short story I listened to yesterday on Audible. It’s part of Audible Plus’s catalogue, and a breeze in the air at some forty-four minutes of listening time.
Like everything else Harrow has thus far written, “Patience and Not-Forsaken” is as much fantasy as it is a piece of historic fiction. Patience is a girl with “nervous disposition” living in the 1950s. After a change of pace from the big town to an antique house out in the middle of nowhere, Patience is even more lonely and misunderstood than before; but in the house, she makes a new friend, a girl looking at her from across the mirror. There’s more, a happy summer to be had thanks to a new acquaintance–but as often happens, pleasure turns to ash and is replaced by the most bitter disappointment.
This story offers serious Coraline vibes – the abandoned house, a world on the other side of the mirror that promises delights but has hidden dangers, also; and a through-line of maturity gained in the face of a world violent to the truth of who our protagonist is. In this case – quite literally, though just what I mean, I’ll let you find out for yourself, dear Reader. The short story offers the compelling prose of the author’s later works but not quite the same depth of originality.
It’s a charming story, but nothing special, not compared to Harrow’s long-form works, The Once and Future Witches and The Thousand Doors of January. If anything, it made me want to read the novellas Harrow is putting out at present – I’m eager now to jump onto her Fractured Fables.