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the genre's premiere review magazine for short SF & Fantasy since 1993

Strange Horizons, February 18, 2013

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Strange Horizons, February 18, 2013

The Clover Still Grows Wild in Wawanosh” by Kelly Rose Pflug-Back

Reviewed by Michelle Ristuccia

The Clover Still Grows Wild in Wawanosh” by Kelly Rose Pflug-Back is told from the first-person perspective of Mina, a young woman living in a small village on the outskirts of a derelict city, where she faces environmental threats to her health left over from bombings that occurred when she was a child. The descriptions of her illness, though sparse, hit home for anyone who's witnessed the power of modern medicine when it comes to asthma-related sickness, because those same medicines have become nearly impossible for someone like Mina to procure. Mina also describes a few interactions with her friend Jean-Marc, in whom we witness the dangers the inner city can pose to the psyche. The text runs short for a short story without quite being flash, yet somewhere in there Pflug-Back manages to squeeze in back story of the bombings and a few of Mina's other relationships with her fellow villagers.

I found this story entertaining, yet the narrative felt like a meandering walk through a garden – albeit, a bombed one – and we seem to reach the exit almost by accident. Although the action does much to show us about the world and characters, taken all together it feels a bit pointless. The well executed tone does much to carry the reader through to the end, where the emotional impact rests heavily on a thin message of hope.

Michelle Ristuccia enjoys slowing down time in the middle of the night to read and review speculative fiction, because sleeping offspring are the best inspiration and motivation. You can find out more about her other writing projects and geeky obsessions by visiting her blog.