Review of Liane Tsui and Grace Seybold, eds., A Quiet Afternoon (Grace & Victory Publictions, 2020) — Purchase here. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman.
When I was offered a review copy of this anthology, it was described to me as a collection of “gentle SFF stories with satisfying endings, for readers who wanted something cozy and non-stressful” — that is, perfect for reading in the midst of a global pandemic, when sometimes all you want to do is escape from everything and read something happy and satisfying and low-stakes and so completely separated from the current dystopia we live in.
Does that describe you? Then this is totally the anthology for you! I read the stories while Covid-19 deaths were rising at an alarming rate in my adopted homeland, while facing down the reality of a new lockdown, in the aftermath of an attempted coup in the country of my birth. Every single one was a moment of peace and calm: The anthology delivered exactly what it said it would. I can’t wait to read volume 2, though I hope that 2021 will — eventually — be a year that doesn’t need it as much as 2020 needed volume 1.
As is usual, we review each story individually, linking back here when the reviews are published:
- “The Baker’s Cat” by Elizabeth Hart Bergstrom
- “An Inconvenient Quest” by Rebecca Gomez Farrell
- “Rising Tides” by Mary Alexander Agner
- “After Bots” by Rachael Maltbie
- “It’s All in the Sauce” by Elizabeth Hirst
- “Sarah, Spare Some Change” by Ziggy Schutz
- “Ink Stains” by Tamoha Sengupta
- “Salt Tears and Sweet Honey” by Aimee Ogden
- “12 Attempts At Telling About the Flower Shop Man (New York, New York)” by Stephanie Barbé Hammer
- “The Dragon Peddler” by Maria Cook
- “Tomorrow’s Friend” by Dantzel Cherry
- “Hollow” by Melissa DeHaan
- “Of Buckwheat and Garlic Braids” by Adriana C. Grigore