Review of Mary Robinette Kowal, “Rust and Bone”, Shimmer 46 (2018): 86-92 — Purchase here. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman.
This is a harsh story of a child caught between two adults — one grandmother, one mother — each of whom thinks (or at least claims) they have the child’s best interests at heart.
For anyone who has been caught in a family feud, or who has watched friends be caught in such a feud, this is not a pleasant story. Even if you have not witnessed first hand this sort of situation, the story leaves you with a deep uncertainty and ambivalence about the outcome: Is this the outcome we should’ve been rooting for? More importantly, is it the one that is best for the child? It just isn’t clear, and for some (I’m one of them) that makes it an unsatisfying story. Others may thrive on the ambivalence, and enjoy it more.