Monday, January 10, 2022

Dreams of Distant Shores, by Patricia A. McKillip (author), Tim Campbell (narrator), Amy Landon (narrator)

Tantor Media, ISBN 9781705205945, June 2020

This is a collection of short fiction by Patricia A. McKillip. I've always loved her novels, but I have to confess I wasn't aware she had any short fiction. In this book are five short stories, two novellas, a non-fiction essay by McKillip, and an afterword by Peter S. Beagle.

It is, of course, wonderful. It's McKillip.

A witch, already old, accepts the invitation to be the Moon Goddess's body for a century. A century later, in our modern day, she wakes up out of a more-than-life-size statue of a mermaid, returning to the world as a strong, powerful, beautiful woman. A group of young men are suspected of stealing the mermaid from the bridge (they really tried), one of them is in trouble with his girlfriend because they had promised to have it for friend's wedding. The witch herself is puzzled by parts of the modern world and delighted by others, and there's the problem of the fishermen who regard cormorants as intolerable competitors and are trying to wipe them out. No, I'm not doing justice to the story.

A pair of friends go out for a ride, cross a bridge across a river they didn't know about, and come to a strange, haunted estate, where they see--strange things.

A young artist is obsessed with his muse, The Gorgon in the Cupboard, who by the way talks to him, and the painting he hopes will be his masterwork, and has to be prodded to notice his model.

At a family reunion, the family matriarch is worrying her children and grandchildren. She says she was kidnapped by aliens, who examined and returned her, and now visit her regularly. Obviously, something is wrong with her. Dementia? New prescribed medication? Something else? But what if she's perfectly okay?

The longest piece concerns a couple in a seaside small town. Megan and Jonah. Megan is an artist; Jonah collects fossils, and runs an artsy little gift shop, with the help of Megan and an employee, Jenny. Then two new people show up in town, and there's something strange about them both. Megan becomes fascinated by Adam, a traveling jewelry-maker, while Jonah becomes obsessed by a beautiful singer who won't give her name, at a local pub. Magic starts to tangle up their reality, and their relationship might be coming apart.

These are all wonderful stories, and McKillip's essay and Beagle's afterword are excellent too. Highly recommended.

I bought this audiobook.

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