Content note: Abortion, physical abuse, non-consensual sex.
The story opens on the midwife Puring visiting Sisinia, who is “six moons away from giving birth”. But with Puring’s assistance, Sisinia might never give birth at all.
No one other than the mothers-who-won’t-be suspect that Puring is the source of the local abortions; but even more so, no one at all knows the secret behind how Puring does it, or the importance of the man-fruit to her life. Puring’s secret almost turns the story from fantasy into horror, Kiat mixing and balancing equal parts in her construction of the tale.
It’s not often I get a story set in post-Conquest central (or maybe southern; it wasn’t made explicit) America, which seems to me to be a real lack, because that is a setting rife with native fantasy and mythology that I would love to see more of.