Down From

Ursula Pflug. Snuggly, $11 trade paper (100p) ISBN 978-1-943813-57-5
Pflug’s haunting novella is as oblique and slippery as its protagonist, Sandrine, a traveler between worlds who is first encountered returning from “astral adventures” that have left her disoriented and uncertain: her husband may be named Randy, Mike, or River, and she has either two or three children. (“Don’t forget you have a girl,” she reminds herself; “girls don’t like that, not at all.”) Sandrine worries about environmental damage and the politics of food, tries to recenter herself with her family, and confronts the unexpected ways in which the secrets and struggles of her best friend, Vienna, intersect with Sandrine’s own. Pflug’s prose is deceptively direct: much is stated but still more is hinted at in a setting where witches and telepaths are as much a fact of life as cell phones, and behind the bluntness of Sandrine’s inner monologue are startling depths of grief and loss. The work feels unfinished, but in the way a poem might: the narrative denouement leaves the door open for the reader’s own thoughts. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 02/12/2018
Release date: 03/19/2018
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