REVIEW: “Dead Katherine” by Victoria Zelvin

Review of Victoria Zelvin, “Dead Katherine”, Luna Station Quarterly 43 (2020): Read online. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman.

Everyone fears the mine-owner William Dawes but the only thing that Dawes fears is the outlaw Dead Katherine. Everyone, that is, but Dead Katherine herself, who has returned to the mine to exact her revenge.

But revenge for what? And why is she called Dead Katherine? These were the two questions that drove my reading of the story, but it took long enough for them to be answered that I read less in anticipation and more in frustration because I couldn’t understand how she had ended up where she was and doing what she was doing. When the answers did finally come (but only to the first question, not the second), it felt a bit too late.

REVIEW: “The City of Cats” by Victoria Zelvin

Review of Victoria Zelvin, “The City of Cats”, in Broken Metropolis: Queer Tales of the City That Never Was, edited by Dave Ring, (Mason Jar Press, 2018): 28-34 — Purchase here. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman. (Read the review of the anthology).

Naoko draws cats, and “she’s very good at it” (p. 28). Every morning before her wife leaves for work, she draws one for her. Her other cats roam the city, drawn on walls, on buildings, on sidewalks. No one ever sees Naoko draw them, but they are all hers. The city itself is also filled with live cats — more than there are people, Naoko’s wife (the narrator) sometimes wonders — and Naoko and her wife have their own live cat as well, Bubbles.

When Naoko says she draws cats for her wife for luck, for safety, she means it in a very real, concrete sense, as her wife learns by the end of this is quick, sweet tale.