Review of J. B. Rockwell, “The Salt Debt”, Luna Station Quarterly 30: Read online. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman.
What struck me first about this story was the beautiful language, with a handful of phrases painting a detailed picture. What struck me next was how Rockwell can make the extraordinary seem ordinary. Too often that which is foreign to our own lived experiences appears in stories as foreign as well; but not here. Whether it is an old man with a clockwork heart, a girl with the body of a kraken, or a knitted cat, each of the extraordinary characters in “The Salt Debt” are presented as utterly ordinary. The story the narrator tells is also utterly ordinary — we grow old, we love, we die — and that ordinariness is what makes the ending sweet rather than grotesque.
It is a short story, but at the end I am left with a fleeting happiness of having read it and a desire to read more by this author.