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Saturday, September 22, 2007

cover of Flying in Place

This was not exactly the story I expected when I started this book-- but by the time I'd discovered that, it was too late to stop. I hadn't heard of Susan Palwick until I read a brief article about her book The Necessary Beggar being nominated for the Mythopoeic awards. The book sounded interesting, and according to the article Palwick is a Christian, so I thought I'd try some of her stuff-- the only one I could find in the library was this one. It's actually a story about dealing with sexual abuse, but there are still some fantasy elements because the main character, Emma, is visited by the ghost of her sister Ginny, and together they deal with the father that visited them both. What I found particularly interesting is that neither of these girls will fight for themselves, but they are both willing to fight for others-- Ginny comes back to help Emma, Emma won't stand up for herself, but will to protect her mother and other girls.

The idea of the title is one I've come across before in other books-- the person who is being abused sort of leaves their body to escape the terrible thing being done to them. This book takes it a bit further-- Emma is flying on the ceiling the first time she meets her sister Ginny. Then, together they begin exploring and flying other places.

The book is set up with a frame narrative-- an adult Emma is finally telling her husband (and, a little, her young daughter) about her childhood and her special relationship with the sister who died before she was born. This device gives some nice closure to the story, but otherwise it felt a little unnecessary to me, since most of the book was the story of her childhood.

I enjoyed the book pretty well, and found the characters believing and engaging. I still hope to read The Necessary Beggar sometime if I can find it anywhere.

Title:Flying in Place
Author:Susan Palwick
Date published:2005
Number of pages:192


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