REVIEW: “A Priest of Vast and Distant Places” by Cassandra Khaw

Review of Cassandra Khaw “A Priest of Vast and Distant Places”, Apex Magazine 106 (2018): Read Online. Reviewed by Joanna Z. Weston.

Many people have observed that there is something mysterious about the liminal space of airports and of flight itself. Khaw takes that observation a step further, with a story about one of their clergy, a solitary priest of the planes, criss-crossing the globe to commune with the vehicles in her spiritual charge, listening to their stories and their woes.

But this isn’t simply a story about a nifty idea (though it is a wonderful idea, building on the real-world experience and wonder of air travel). This is a meditation on love and loneliness and humanity. On connection and isolation (feelings I think we very much associate with airports, and the separations and reunions that occur there) and how those opposing feelings weave together to form a tapestry. Most of all, this is a story about home. It holds all of the irreconcilable dichotomies inherent to that word, all of the mixed up emotions that it can stir up, and doesn’t try to resolve them. I am grateful for that.

This is a quick read (less than 3,000 words) that packs a lot of emotional resonance and some truly lovely moments and resonant images. Well worth reading and rereading.

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