REVIEW: “And the Ghosts Sang With Her: A Tale of the Lyrist” by Spencer Ellsworth

Review of Spencer Ellsworth, “And the Ghosts Sang With Her: A Tale of the Lyrist”, in Aidan Doyle, Rachael K. Jones, and E. Catherine Tobler, Sword and Sonnet (Ate Bit Bear, 2018) — 189-203. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman. (Read the review of the anthology.)

I’m not a huge fan of 2nd-person narration when the narrator’s “you” is directed at me, but when the audience of the narration is not the reader but a clearly defined character who is listening to an oral tale, then I like it very much. I sometimes feel that a lot of modern fantasy storytelling has lost some of its connection with its oral past, and that we don’t write enough stories that are designed to be read aloud any more. (Having a 6yo means I spend a lot of time reading stories out loud.)

Not only does the narration capture the oral aspect of this thousands-and-one-nights-inspired story, the story itself works well not merely read aloud but performed; it would be a lovely choice for someone to recite around a campfire as the late summer sun is setting.

And it had a fabulous, vengeful ending.