5 of 5 stars.
Included in After the End: Recent Apocalypses edited by Paula Guran, this short story grew on me quickly and powerfully. By the end, I was in tears. [Happy tears? Sad tears? You won’t find spoilers here.]
I enjoy a truly immersive story that stays within and defines itself by its cultural references. The post-Apocalyptic world of “Amaryllis” has settled into a new, albeit authoritarian, normal. It becomes clear that the concept of family is not the same as in current society. And what a better way to talk about family than to challenge the notions of it. The “committee” defines who will be a family [they seem to hold 6-9 adults in the examples shown or discussed] and yet the people then re-define the concept as they “own” the concept. Challenging the system has dire consequences that can tear apart the family and has repercussions that last for subsequent generations.
Our story follows Marie, the captain of the fishing boat Amaryllis, and her family/crew on their boat and in their coastal town homestead with its gardens. Marie opens the story explaining that she never knew her mother whom had bucked the system by having her. She is still paying for the crimes of her mother. Marie’s family/crew are also bound to her fate.
In a minimum of pages, this beautiful story hits on issues of environmentalism, sustainability, fairness, family and fate. This story is highly recommended.
[Check out my other reviews here.]