Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Away With the Wolves, by Sarah Gailey

Uncanny Magazine, September 2019

Suss is a young woman, and also a wolf. Her mother, now dead, always taught her it was selfish and self-indulgent to spend too much time as a wolf, out living her wolf life. Suss tries to live by her mother's rules and severely limit her time as a wolf.

Unfortunately, in human form, Suss spends much of her time in pain. Her hips, her shoulders, her legs, her hands; it's the rare day that she's not in some significant pain.

Fortunately, her friend, Yana, understands. Yana's father, Alger, maybe doesn't understand as fully, but he's patient and supportive. Their neighbors are tolerant, as long as she pays for what she kills or damages in wolf form.

But it's a lonely life. And Yana understands better than Suss does that she's not spending too much time as a wolf; she's spending too little.
Yet she has no wolf friends, either. And she doesn't want to lose the human friends she does have.

Then one day, she returns from being "away with the wolves," as she and Yana call it, to find that she has apparently killed one of the goats belonging to a neighbor. That's expensive, but more disturbing, she doesn't have any memory of doing it.

What's going on? Is she losing herself into the wolf form? 

I felt very connected to Suss, trying very hard to do what she's expected to do, even though it hurts, even though it's never quite good enough, and even though she only fuctions well as a wolf. Can she find herself, or will she lose herself?

Very enjoyable, very satisfying, Recommended.

I received this story as part of the Hugo Voters packet, and am reviewing it voluntarily.

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