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Set in a reality where nightmares do not fade upon waking, this anthology skims along the surface of life and dips just beneath, revealing the hidden machinations that fuel dreams. These underlying myths and fantasies exist not as musty old stories but as ancient truths that have come to illuminate the modern human condition. The title story touches on themes of grief, redemption, and time travel; "Cold Fire" ventures into love and obsession; and "Peace on Suburbia" introduces readers to a Christmas with an entirely different kind of savior. These and 13 other tales are framed by four interludes—Dreams, Nightmares, Waking, and Rising—that guide readers through a world that is at once familiar and eerily off-kilter.
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M. Rickert is the author of many short stories that have been anthologized in several Year's Best Science Fiction and Year's Best Fantasy collections. She lives in Saratoga Springs, New York.From Publishers Weekly:
Sorrows, anguish and bitter might-have-beens dominate Rickert's fitfully brilliant collection of fantasy fiction, whose title novella, according to Gordon Van Gelder's afterword, reveals a love of the natural world that wonderfully imbues the author's often enigmatic fiction. Rickert's nature is less illumined by golden daffodils than "red in tooth and claw," rife with the fierce necessary complements of birth and death, reality and dream, sanity and madness. Rickert acknowledges her "magical realism" owes a literary debt to Gabriel García Marquez, but her most powerful passages, like "Moorina of the Seals," a startling ecological hymn, and "Many Voices," the horrific exposé of a women's prison, draw on woman's strengths and weaknesses as maiden, matron and crone. "Leda" and her other subtle retellings of myth, couched in the deceptively prosaic dialogue of America's underprivileged, achieve resonances that plumb the darkest depths of human love and loneliness, and occasionally rise to "the song that both connects, and disconnects us, shared, but never owned, life."
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