You Have Never Been Here
by Mary Rickert
Cover Artist: Angel by Emma Powell
Review by Mario Guslandi
Small Beer Press Trade Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9781618731104
Date: 24 November 2015 List Price $16.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK
There are writers able to create stories where the world becomes a place full of magic and human life, with its joys and its sorrows, a wonderful ride across time and space, full of mystery and enchantment. Mary Rickert is one of those writers, endowed with a remarkable imagination and an extraordinary ability to mesmerize the readers with her spellbinding narrative style.
The present collection assembles ten stories and a novella, all worth reading in their own way, all imbued with lyricism and magic. Some of the stories are unforgettable and absolutely outstanding.
"Memoir of a Deer Woman" is an exceptional, melancholy fantasy tale about a woman's gradual transformation and her husband's subsequent downfall. "The Christmas Witch" is an intriguing piece revolving around a weird little girl obsessed with bones and witches, who makes life hard for her neighbors and her own father.
The poignant "Anyway" revolves around magic, motherly love, and the cruelty of life which keep fighting with death.
To me the most accomplished piece is the extraordinary "Journey into the Kingdom". It's a blends madness and love, supernatural and trivial, to create an offbeat and moving modern ghost story apt to linger for a long time in the reader's memory.
"The Chambered Fruit" about the violent death of a little girl, is a true masterpiece, told in a superb narrative style, addressing the issues of life and death, parental love, and the unexplained mystery of human condition.
By contrast the overlong novella "The Mothers of Voorhisville" is a fantasy piece where a group of women from a country village, seduced by a devilish male creature, give birth to winged little boys. Although enjoyable enough, the story did not quite work for me.
With the said exception, the book is truly a delightful collection of superior, enchanting fiction.