Review of Tochi Onyebuchi, “Presque Vue”, Uncanny Magazine Issue 41 (2021): Read Online. Reviewed by Isabel Hinchliff.
As she grows up, Sam has to wrestle with the revelation that hearing just one voice in her head is not, in fact, normal. She tracks when it guides her and when it falls silent. Is it nudging her thoughts in a certain direction? What does it want? Only time will tell, but why does she feel like time might be running out?
Clocking in at less than two thousand words, this bite-size story is surprisingly refreshing. It takes a much more holistic approach than many stories which feature internal voices; Sam is a well-developed protagonist with family support and access to mental health services. She struggles to understand and make peace with her unique mental landscape, but she isn’t seriously hindered by it or degraded by her peers. As each new detail of her life story was revealed, I found myself effortlessly picking out the layers of motives in Sam’s life: her motives, the motives of her friends and family, and the motives of the mysterious voice. It’s a fascinating read with a delightful reveal at the end.