cover image Ka: Dar Oakley in the Ruin of Ymr

Ka: Dar Oakley in the Ruin of Ymr

John Crowley. Saga, $28.99 (464p) ISBN 978-1-481495-59-2

This unusual narrative from Crowley (Totalitopia) ostensibly consists primarily of the recollections of a long-lived crow who’s capable of communicating with humans, one of whom named him Dar Oakley. Crowley cleverly grounds the book with a prologue recounted by an unnamed narrator in a near-future world on the verge of collapse from climate change; he recently lost his wife and is “mortally sick in more than body” himself. The widower finds Dar Oakley, who is also not in good shape, in his backyard, and takes him inside to care for him, even as he wonders at the irrational futility of trying to save an individual life in a world full of ones needing rescuing. In time, Dar Oakley teaches his language to his savior and recounts his experiences in Ka, the realm of crows, and how they led him to enter the human world, Ymr. It’s never clear whether the human lead merely imagines all of Dar Oakley’s reminiscences, but this ambiguity sustains, rather than lessens, the reader’s engagement with Dar Oakley’s stories. (Oct.)