Title: Each City
Author: Ellen van Neerven
In: Kindred (Michael Earp)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Australian authors, Indigenous Australians, LGBTQI, Music
Dates read: 13th June 2020
Format: Short story
Publisher: Walker Books
5th sentence, 74th page: You’ll be like me.
In a time and place not so different to our own, an Indigenous activist find that maybe her life and that of her lover are about to be irrevocably changed.
It turns out that I accidentally picked this up to read at a kind of perfect time – a time when the world is seriously starting to think (hopefully) about Black Lives Matter. So, reading a short story in which the focus in the lives and importance of equality and an acknowledgement of our privilege sat perfectly with me. Granted, this is in a world that is somewhat ahead of our time, and there are certain aspect which are both terrifying and intriguing. But definitely the perfect time for short stories like this to take centre stage.
This was a very powerful short story. It actually made me want to cry towards the end. I’m not entirely sure why, because it wasn’t as tragic as some of the other stories that I’ve read that have actually made me cry. It was powerful and intense. A reminder that it would be so easy to further marginalise those who are already living on the margins. And the traumas that this can inflict. Not just being part of a minority, but also the ways in which people can be governed due to this fact.
To further that feeling of wow and power that this short story lends, I found that the first person POV worked perfectly. It sunk you into the understanding and experiences of the narrative. You didn’t have to wonder about the feelings of marginalisation and fear that were being experienced – you experienced them alongside the narrative voice. Leaving you with this amazing, powerful and just… wow feeling once you turn that final page.