Wednesday, December 14, 2016

The Things My Mother Left Me, by P. Djèlí Clark

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(African Fantasy) After her father's death, Tausi needs someone to take her from Epoulu before her aunts marry her off. (7,472 words; Time: 24m)

Rating: ★★★★★ Fun tale with a clever heroine

"," by (edited by Daniel José Older), appeared in issue 60, published on .

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

Pro: Tausi seeks her freedom, and she seeks a vocation. At the end of her adventures, she has earned both.

Our first hint that she has some magic comes when she speaks with the woman by the river, and she herself stops the images on the gourds from moving. We're not at all surprised later when the Jab Man tells us she's got magic. It also tells us that the plight of magic users needs a champion, and we're pleased that Tausi accepts that role.

It's deeply touching when her mother's spirit takes the time to comfort her when delivering the cloak and spear.

Master Abata warned Tausi that the Jab Man is a trickster, so we're not surprised to learn that their deal has problems.

Tausi is a good person, and she can't let the Okapi woman destroy everyone in the city. She doesn't even wish ill on her aunts, even though she's convinced they're trying to take advantage of her. By the end of the story, we're sure she'll free the Jangu cat too. It's an emotional rush that this act of kindness, at least, does get rewarded.

Between her cleverness and her kindness, Tausi really has shown herself to be a worthy successor to her mother. She really earned her success, and that makes the ending all the sweeter.

Con: The background is a little confusing. It suggests that this is not the first story set this universe.

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