By Ro Gardje
This story was so much more than I thought it was going to be. I thought, “This is going to be just like any other apocalyptic story with a happy ending of hope and survival.” Well, friends, buckle up and forget it. Gardje does such a wonderful job in this story really highlighting the main character’s abandonment of hope in such a poetic, scenic way. It really did have me wanting to read more, because like I said I was expecting hope and happiness! Boy, oh boy, was I wrong on that front. And this really gives it such a sense of depth!
I also like how Gardje doesn’t focus on things that aren’t important to the story. We get plenty of the world from just focusing on the main character and his family. The setting isn’t entirely clear, either, which I kind of really liked? It mentions different planets and worlds, so this story might not even take place on Earth, and if it does then it gives the possibility of the rich fleeing to other planets, leaving the rest of us to die. The descriptions of the environments, the desperation, and the sadness was too good. I think my favorite part of the story was this part right here:
“Kai didn’t know how or why Aiya and the child had survived. Aiya herself didn’t know why and often in their own separate thoughts they wished it otherwise. Aiya was breastfeeding constantly and getting skinnier by the minute. Kai knew that now he only lived for them, he couldn’t abandon them. He often longed for it.”
That is just a small snippet of the twisted fantasy Gardje has built. I love the subtle loss of hope in these lines like, “they wished it otherwise,” and, “He often longed for it.” That gives us such bold feelings of the characters. These are the properties that short stories need to have, a focus on character and getting right to the point without boring us with every minor detail. Gardje could have described the world, or climate, or some other detail that didn’t drive the story. But Gardje makes her points perfectly while delivering a character-driven story.
This story was good, truly good. I don’t typically like fantasy/apocalyptic stories. They’re usually not written well, and they don’t draw me in. But Gardje did the genre completely different. She really allowed the characters to take us through the story and build the world, instead of relying on the story to develop the characters. This is definitely a 5-star story, and I look forward to reading more of Gardje’s writeups.
Thank you for reading! Have you read this story yet? What did you think of it? Join in on this discussion in the comments below!
Interested in reading this story? Or more of Ro Gardje’s work? Read it here.