REVIEW: “Heirlooms” by Rosalind Alenko

Review of Rosalind Alenko, “Heirlooms”, in Myths, Monsters, and Mutations, edited by Jessica Augustsson (JayHenge Publications, 2017): 324-332. — Purchase here. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman. (Read the review of the anthology.)

Alenko devotes nearly two pages simply to setting the scene, with such attention to detail that when there is a mismatch between expectations and the story, it comes a bit jarring. (Tegan is much more commonly a female name than a male name; given the surfeit of Welsh names, I expected the story to be set in Wales…until a raccoon showed up.) There is a level of detachment that comes with this level of description, which Alenko uses to balance the strong emotional thread that runs through the story. Enid herself is a strange narrator; it is not clear how far we can trust her. She complains about the lack of road to the cemetery that “it’s not the dark ages!” but later seems to accept unquestioningly the existence of ghosts, witches, and faeries. Later, when Enid returns to her grandma, one wonders what story it is she will tell her.

This is the first story where I’ve found any editorial issues, a minor lapse resulting in “it’s” where there should be “its”.