I read this as part of my reading challenge: 25 short stories in 25 days.
This is the first of Amal El-Mohtar’s stories that I have read, but it will not be the last of her stories to find its way to my kindle that is for sure. It was beautiful!
The story transported me to a land of blazing sun, ripe figs and flat-roofed cities. The language was just poetic without being flowery and it was just beautiful. The story as well was beautiful.
See how swift and clever are their feet, how their lips are sewn with tiny golden bells, how their very breath chimes and shines, the better to spell out the hours of the day in brilliance worthy of the Sun!
An old woman was telling a stranger about the costumes of her city while serving hot sweet tea. It is not often that you get a first person story, that is one side of a dialog. Not that it would seem that the other person talked much. Each morning and each evening the sun girls and sun woman dance to the sun.
The story had the feel of mythology, which is always a winner for me. Made up mythology or real world, doesn’t make much difference to me. It is all amazing stories that explains how the world works to the listener. Because mythology is meant to be oral, not written.
The story is at once deep felt and detached. Which is quite a feat. It makes you feel and wonder without pulling on your heart-strings. It is a story told by an insider, not an outsider for eroticism. To me it is an exotic story, but it is also a story that lets me see inside a culture that is not my own. It makes me feel like I have walked the streets of the sun-kissed city. Like I have watched the sun girls dance to greet the sun. I think I have still moonlight in my eyes from reading it and I think it will stay with me for days. I can see myself putting it into hands of others.
I just realised that I have followed Amal El-Mohtar on twitter for quite some time because she has really interesting things to say on there.
It is the first story I have read from Strange Horizons, I don’t think it will be the last if this is the quality one can expect.