Title: The Mathematical Inevitability of Corvids
Author: Seanan McGuire
In: Black Feathers (Ellen Datlow)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Horror,
Dates read: 28th January 2019
Format: Short story
Publisher: Pegasus Books Ltd.
5th sentence, 74th page: She’s the only one that’s stayed.
“One’s for sorrow, two’s for joy.” Brenda counts corvids as a way to understand the mathematics of her day. But when the unthinkable happens, will her counting and corvids help her? Or will they spell the end?
I feel like I liked this story a little tooooo much. It was dark, twisted and resulted in murder. And yet I absolutely loved it. Can’t stop thinking about it. Feel almost completely obsessed with it. Although, unlike most short stories that I love this much… I’m more than happy that it ended when it did. This was poignant and powerful, but it was also perfectly succinct in what it was attempting to entail.
There’s something hard about being different. And in this short story, the horrific way in which others can treat a child who is different are highlighted. There is a knowledge and understanding in the slightly jittery voice that highlights just how aware the young protagonist is. And when this hatred of her difference leads to something far too horrible to contemplate… well, that’s why this short story is on the horror shelf.
I don’t often feel sympathy for people who do a “bad thing”. Especially not something delivered in cold blood. But I definitely did in this story. And it left me feeling both awed and uncomfortable. A feeling that I think is fantastic to gain from a well-written short story.
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