Houarner (Dark City) employs beautiful storytelling without much of a story in this short work. By the time Aini was eight years old, she and her parents had long since left the world of skyscrapers and televisions behind to wander through a vast trackless desert on a quest for the group called the Caravan of Dreams. After her parents give her to a passing caravan as part of their quest, Aini discovers that her storytelling enthralls the living and the dead, animals and djinn, in a starkly unforgiving and otherworldly land where the Caravan of War, the Caravan of Healing, and the Caravan of Death all trade. Aini’s journey is dreamlike, wrapped in prose as ethereal as her stories (“their laughter danced over the sand like lost scarves in the wind”), but also languid; little happens or changes except the details and scope of her tales, which have more substance than the surrounding reality. Readers who enjoy stories in which the telling of the journey is more important than the destination may appreciate this one. Agent: Jack Byrne, Sternig & Byrne Literary (Sept.)
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