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

Strange Horizons -- May 21, 2018

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Special Double Review

by

Mike Wyant, Jr. & David Schultz

 

Strange Horizons, May 21, 2018

"Salt Lines" by Ian Muneshwar

Reviewed by Mike Wyant, Jr.

Before I dig in, I have to say this story wasn't written for me. I'm a cis white guy and I don't think the ending is meant to speak to me on the same level as it would someone like the narrator, Ravi. That said, there's much to love here.

The tale follows Ravi as he's chased by a jumbie, which is a somewhat generic name for spirits or demons in some Caribbean countries. Through his flight, we learn about Ravi's upbringing as well as his current family life. All of these seem literally to feed the jumbie, until we reach the climax of the story. It's this ending that lost me, but up until the last few paragraphs Muneshwar had me enthralled. As I said above, I don't think I'm the target audience for this ending, so take that disconnect with a grain of salt (that's a pun if you read the story).


Mike Wyant, Jr. is an ex-IT guy, who has finally committed to a writing life out in the Middle of Nowhere, New York.

***

Strange Horizons, May 21, 2018

Salt Lines” by Ian Muneshwar

Reviewed by David Schultz

A mythical monster called a jumbie follows a young gay man to his apartment. Afraid, the young man reaches out to his estranged father, who, because of the young man’s sexual orientation, abandoned him years before. His attempt to connect fails, and the young man tries to protect himself with superstitious magic, to no avail. The jumbie gets to the boy, but instead of an attack the monster seduces him.

Doubtlessly, Muneshwar takes delight in description. He does so with accuracy and brilliance, but in my opinion less is more and the story’s effectiveness is dimished in the onslaught of descriptive passages. Lastly, there is a tie between the man’s sexual orientation and the monster. The jumbie might be shame, it might be desire, or it might just be a monster looking for a sexual encounter, we don’t know. Muneshwar dwells on physical settings, while much needed internal landscapes are ignored. All in all I think this work is decent, and would recommend it for casual reading.