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2013 Stories 8

8. THE BIG BLUE PEACOCK by Nick Mamatas, from Dark Faith: Invocations  First of all, I have to say: poor Nick Mamatas, having to follow the tough act that was Jay Lake's "The Cancer Catechism." Jay's story affected me so deeply that perhaps I should have put this book aside for a week or so rather than diving back in tonight. That said, Mamatas' story is very good, and deals with a completely different issue of faith and perception. I was struck by the need of the story's two main characters - a 40ish American teacher and her college-age Kurdish student - to believe in something so desperately that they completely alter their lives to achieve it, with varying results. With or without the inherent language barrier the story sets up, both characters reveal an emptiness I found myself relating to, and the conclusion (not foregone, not predictable, but oh-so-appropriate) left me with questions to ask myself. (Which, I think, is rather the point of the anthology.)

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