Title: The Way Station
Author: Nathan Ballingrud
In: Naked City (Ellen Datlow)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Paranormal fantasy, Urban fantasy
Dates read: 6th November 2019
Format: Short story
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
5th sentence, 74th page: I’m worried, bro.
We are all slightly lost, but Beltrane is more lost than most. Especially when he is forced to leave his own city. Will he embrace the beauty of his past, or the hope of his future?
We’ve all felt like we’re a little in the “between”. Which means that a story about this feeling makes total sense, and is a completely relatable feeling. Alright, the paranormal, drifty feel of the story isn’t as relatable. But that in between, lost ideal is.
Beltrane is an engaging lead. Normally I would find a man like this as a lead a little bit tedious and irritating. Yet, there is something relatable about him – his sense of loss with the advent of Katherine, his need to reconnect, but his unwillingness to let go of his past. This is echoed gloriously in the flickering between the stories’ timelines.
Whilst Beltrane didn’t really seem creepy, the presence of the other Betweeners highlighted that there is just something not right about his foot in the past. We all need to find a way to move forwards in our life, and sometimes to do so we have to actually let go of the past.