This story has one of those slippery settings where it could be radically other, radically elsewhere or elsewhen, or it could also be just around the corner, today or tomorrow.
Some stories make it clear what kind of stories they are from the beginning; not this one, not for me at least. And yet, even without having any idea of where it started or where it was going, I kept reading. Walker’s language is tight and precise and allows us a very clear insight into Alice’s head. Alice herself is the sort of main character I’ve found myself looking for more and more lately — someone who is older than me, who has found a sense of herself, who understands how she fits into the world. “Alice was everything, and she wanted to live that way,” Walker tells us. That’s the sort of heroine I aspire to be.
There was a lot left out of this story, the history of how things got to be this way only hinted at. In some stories, these gaps can be frustrating. In this one, I wanted to know more, of course, but I was also satisfied with what I got.