REVIEW: “Dust & Bone” by Michael McGlade

Review of Michael McGlade, “Dust & Bone”, Persistent Visions (4 August 2017). Read online. Reviewed by Essence B. Scott .

Michael McGlade’s “Dust & Bone” was a difficult read; it felt to me that the story was romanticizing impending death and drug use, though the drugs are supernatural. The blurb says that this story about a guy who “lives a hard life on the edges of society and his relationship with his supernatural supplier and love interest Dust is beautiful, poignant, and, as it goes in many love stories, tragic.” I personally did not find this story to be tragic. I felt distant from the characters and their lives. Bone was too clingy to Dust. I understand that Dust is his love interest, but it’s tragic to see Bone feel like he’s nothing without Dust. Is that what love is like? If so, It is not something I’d want.

Having said that, there are some good bits in this story. The beginning, though it feels thin, is decent. Bone is angry and grieving. This story feels retrospective in that it takes us back through the middle-ground of their relationship—before Dust’s death, before her grip (so to speak) on Earth began to weaken when she discovered lumps on her body. Still, though, she will do anything for Bone, and that feels unhealthy to me also. Shouldn’t there be a limit to what you’ll do for a person before you put yourself at risk? I guess this feels unhealthy because I see that I do the same thing in my own life and know it is unhealthy, but still do what I do.

“Dust & Bone” was slow-paced for eight printed pages. The end made everything neatly packaged, but this story felt very thin and heavy on destructive behaviors. I barely highlighted anything on my printed copy because nothing made me curious; McGlade told us everything that happened, as though he was in the room watching. There was no distance.

Overall, this story was not one of Persistent Vision’s best. I hope to read more immersive stories in the future.