Title: The Chamber Music of Animals
Author: Katherine Vaz
In: The Coyote Road (Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Medical, Music, Tricksters
Dates read: 28th April 2019
Format: Short story
Publisher: Firebird Fantasy
5th sentence, 74th page: She’d consumed nothing but coffee all day; no wonder she ached with heartburn.
Sophie has lost her husband, and now cancer is threatening to take away her only son. Does the power of music have the ability to battle away the awful disease?
I’m really glad that this story didn’t have a sad ending. I was fully expecting it to, after all, Sofia had already lost her husband, and she was incredibly close to losing her son to cancer. Although this tale is in a collection about tricksters, it doesn’t mean that you can’t have trickster tales that are sad. Rather than their usual witty, entertaining journeys.
Monkeys are often tricksters in mythology. They’re the characters which run amok through the lives of people and change the world around them. Just by creating chaos. And believe me, if you’ve ever watched a troop of monkeys, or apes, you can understand how their presence can incite change and align them with the tricksters of myth and legend. Which means that it was probably about time for a monkey to show up in The Coyote Road.
The parallel running of this story worked really nicely throughout. There are the battles which Sofia is fighting for her son. The life that her mother is trying to live with a broken leg, and an incredibly sick grandson. And finally, the music and internal war that Rangy is fighting to save a well-loved boy. Even if he has been left in the cupboard for years on end…