Short Story Review: “The Sea Inside” by Amanda Downum

3 of 5 stars.

Abuse, fear and desperation can play a part in any universe. As can help and understanding–perhaps even supernatural intervention. There is little in this tale that overtly stands out as Lovecraftian except perhaps the form of assistance provided.

An old woman awaits aside a shrimp shack by the sea on a quiet stretch of coast. A younger woman comes up to ascertain the identity of the older woman, not by name but merely as her savior on this day. The young woman has reached her end; she must leave her life behind to escape . . .him.

The crux of the exchange is short and moving. However, the overall dialogue is obstinately vague allowing no backstory to coalesce around the two characters before they part company. We see they’ve changed, each in a way that benefits her, but the banter acts as mere filler.

This tale appears in the New Lovecraftian anthology, The Mammoth Book of Cthulhu edited by Paula Guran. I received my copy of the anthology directly from Prime Books. I’ve previously reviewed this author’s “Flotsam”.
[Check out my other reviews here.]


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