Two Travelers

Sarah Tolmie. Aqueduct, $16 trade paper (200p) ISBN 978-1-61976-103-2
Author and professor Tolmie (The Stone Boatmen) delivers an exquisite duo of short stories in this slim volume. “The Dancer on the Stairs” follows a woman who is trapped on a staircase between hallways, each an individual region unto itself. A rover of sorts, the woman is unable to communicate with those who call the hallways their home. Only by dancing does she create a strong foothold in this new world, while courting a prince who shares her limitations. “The Burning Furrow” tells of a Romany family who move between worlds and whose honor and destiny depend on the rituals surrounding their names. Rich with detail, both stories are imbued with baroque sensibilities, a refreshing deviation from the typical medieval setting. Rather than relying on pure exposition, Tolmie uses the characters’ interactions and personalities to bring color to the unique magic of each setting. Tolmie’s investigations of identity, place, and personal meaning are a delight to read and a great contribution to the genre. (July)
Reviewed on: 04/11/2016
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