Wednesday, December 14, 2016

The Rock in the Water, by Thoraiya Dyer

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(Modern Fantasy) A Hatian girl and a Syrian girl flee their countries but with very different results. (5,451 words; Time: 18m)

Rating: ★★★★★ Topical, Complex, and Stirring

This story is not available free online; you have to purchase the issue.
"The Rock in the Water," by (edited by Daniel José Older), appeared in issue 60, published on .

Mini-Review (click to view--possible spoilers)

Yveline flees Haiti with the aid of a goddess. She misses out on a human childhood, but she doesn't seem to regret that in the slightest. She's the rock in the water. The goddess has granted her safety, but only until she gets tired of it.

Su'ad flees Syria (from the author's note on the story), but she doesn't get any divine assistance. She's the rock in the sun. She works hard and suffers in Malaysia, then almost dies on a boat smuggling people into Australia.

The spirits of Su'ad's seven dead brothers implore Yveline to save their sister, and she does. Not only that, she finds a whole new purpose saving individuals as sea levels rise.

We learn that Su'ad learned English despite the challenges, got her degree, and came home only to find no one there to save and no one to blame. She and Yveline meet again, and for the first time, she's ready to give up her safety and return to humanity. But Su'ad rejects her. The rock in the sun is wiser than the rock in the water too.

They've both found their calling. Su'ad to try to bring other evil doers to justice, and Yveline to save drowning refugees. One in the sun, the other in the water.

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