Review: “All My Love, A Fishhook” by Helen Marshall

4 of 5 stars.

This tale touchingly displays the complex ties between fathers and sons as seen through the haze of superstition, folklore, tradition and generational differences. While drawing from Lovecraft in its use of a sea-totem, this story employs fictional realism assigning the Lovecraftian elements to lore and superstition.

Kostas has a difficult relationship to his violent fisherman father, but he loves him and learns the fishing trade from him. He does not share his father’s superstitious hold on a sea-god idol that as a child Kostas broke and was bled for, however, he is never-the-less drawn to it.

At 15, Kostas and his mother are abandoned by his father for another family. At 20, Kostas is married and has his own son, Stefano. Also, his father has rejoined his mother and has softened his stance on children. Kostas never raises a hand to his quiet child who grows up to be a quiet man with a very different relationship with his grandfather than Kostas had. The grandfather also shares personal stories with the grandson that he never told to Kostas, including the significance of the idol . . .

“All My Love, A Fishhook” appears in New Cthulhu 2: More Recent Weird edited by Paula Guran after originally appearing in Gifts for the One Who Comes After (ChiZine Publications, 2014). I’d previously read Marshall’s “Death and the Girl from Pi Delta Zeta”, a well-constructed, thoughtful allegory.
[Check out my other reviews here.]


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