Review of Cherie Priest, “Mother Jones and the Nasty Eclipse”, Apex Magazine 108 (2018): Read Online. Reviewed by Joanna Z. Weston.
I love political fiction. I particularly love when it’s well-written and thoughtfully constructed, tying past and present together with real human emotion and nuanced sentiment. “Mother Jones and the Nasty Eclipse” is somehow both vague and direct. The speaker is never named beyond the title, and the listener not at all, though it’s pretty clear from context that Mother Jones (the historical figure, not the magazine) is speaking to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
There isn’t much of a plot here, in the traditional sense. It’s more a story of the legacy of one woman, who fought and struggled and endured insults from her enemies, speaking to another such woman still in the midst of her own story. It’s a call to action for all of us, to not give up even in defeat, to stand up, brush ourselves off, and continue with whatever long, slow fight we’ve committed ourselves to in this life. It’s refreshingly lacking the cliches and saccharine sentiments usually present in such stories, and more inspiring than most (at least to me).
Depending on your political leanings, this story might not land as well for you as it did for me, but I thought it was timely and well-done.