Woman of the Well. A mortally wounded young man wishes with all his heart not to die alone. But will company only bring a quicker death?
The Piper. In a village by the sea a young woman who hates the sea is married to a fisherman. Are her dreams of forests only dreams or something darker?
Crystalline A lady believes she is ready to pay any price to charm a feckless lover.
Slipstream Obsessed with taking flight a young man dons better wings without thought of whether he can land.
Although each of the stories is short (Woman of the Well is only a few pages long and covers only a few minutes) Taylor has filled them with interesting rounded characters. Limiting the number of key characters to one or two, and leaving all but the key characters as balladic archetypes, each story is free to focus on the protagonist without losing the feeling of a larger world.
The world is similarly constructed. The elements of magic and motif relevant to the characters’ situation are painted in lyric detail on a canvas of barely sketched fantasy tropes. This focus on fine detail not only places the reader in the protagonist’s head but also gives a feeling that they have passed from everyday life and its rules into the softer, less constrained world of enchantments.
The only caveat is that these are tales of visceral beings and magics of desire. As such, it is unashamedly erotic and in places graphic. This is entirely in keeping with the ambience, but is not for those who like their fairies ephemeral.
I enjoyed this collection. I recommend it to readers seeking pleasing morsels to relax between tasks or at the end of a day.
I received a free copy of this book.