Review of Alex Grehy, “Cerridwen’s Daughter,” Luna Station Quarterly 48 (2021): Read online. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman.
Of all the stories in this issue I put off reading this one to the last, because I knew it would irritate me — for two simple and probably quite niche and idiosyncratic reasons (that most readers will not only be unbothered but probably wouldn’t even notice). First, I was immediately confronted with the “cutesy” variant spelling of Creirwy. I’m guessing Grehy intended “Craerwy” to be pronounced the same way as the original form; but Welsh orthography doesn’t work like that. Second, in the opening lines Craerwy addresses the reader, saying, “Have you never heard of me? No, of course you haven’t.” — when in fact, I have heard of her, when I was in high school I developed a role-playing character around her!
The story is ostensibly about Cerridwen’s daughter, but in truth Craerwy spends most of the story talking about her mother and her siblings; she herself does not come to life or act or do anything more than passively recite for more than half the story. It is only towards the very end that she actually does something beyond sitting and talking; and while I liked the climate-recovery message of the story, it ended up feeling like too little too late. I love retellings of myths, and I wish the Mabinogion was taken up more often; but I’m not sure that this story really did the original tales and characters justice.