Saturday, March 2, 2013

Short Story Saturday - Abyssus Abyssum Invocat, by Genevieve Valentine

The first time I heard of Genevieve Valentine, I was looking at books by Catherynne Valente and happened to see Valentine's Mechanique: A Tale of the Circus Tresaulti.

It's a book I need to re-read, because it's been too long since I first read it. Mechanique is a story about a circus troupe made up of completely and partially mechanical performers. The circus travels the world, trying to avoid the war that seems to be going on everywhere, and performing wherever there are people to watch and pay. As they do, there is a battle going on between two of the troupe's best performers, and the clash of war within and war without is an inevitability I tensely waited for as I read. Genevieve Valentine slowly reveals one detail after another about the performers and their pasts, creating a beautiful story that reads like a circus show of one astounding feat after another.

I've decided to start my Short Story Saturday series off with Valentine's short story "Abyssus Abyssum Invocat." It's a story about a mermaid and a boy and the way two people's souls call to each other. Valentine evokes a feeling of poetry and old-world storytelling, and she tells a story that is romantic, tragic, and strange. She puts words together beautifully, and I'll be thinking about her story for a long time. Because it's such a short story, I can't tell you much more without giving away the whole thing, so if you're interested in what I've already said, you should click on the title and go read it. :)

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