Title: Realer Than You
Author: Christopher Barzak
In: The Coyote Road (Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Easy reading, Japanese mythology, Tricksters
Dates read: 23rd March 2019
Format: Short story
Publisher: Firebird Fantasy
5th sentence, 74th page: My dad’s boss, Mr. Fujita, got my dad acclimated to the area quickly, so I don’t think he ever felt that vertigo.
It’s hard to find yourself, but when you’ve moved across the world to a country you don’t understand, it can be even more difficult. But a visit from a trickster spirit could help this young boy figure out what his new path to happiness will be.
We all know the feeling of not belonging. Of being a fish out of water, so to say. Sadly, not many of us necessarily know how to get rid of this feeling. And, sometimes when people are teenagers, they never move beyond this. Which is all the kinds of feelings that this short story reminded me of. The feeling of not belonging and loss. And, quite honestly, the suicide forest that I’ve heard of in Japan. It just had that beautifully and tragically eerie feeling to the tale that I just didn’t quite know what to do with.
I really like the idea of kitsune in the Japanese folklore, but I don’t know much about it. Nor have I read much based on this (as I am writing this review, I’m also ordering some novels to fix this gap in my reading). This didn’t give me much more information than I already have, but it did help to fill my need to find out more. After all, this is a mythology I’m not familiar with, in a culture that I think is fascinating and beautiful. And I’m especially obsessed with tricksters, so it just makes the book nerd in my salivate all the more.
I was kind of expecting a bit of a sad ending in this short story. After all, it immediately reminded me of suicide forests and tragedy. Luckily, it didn’t end in this way. And I had the privilege of closing the final page with a smile on my face.