Strength of Water

Strength of Water by Jayaprakash Satyamurthy is a strange, compelling, and disorienting novella about sweeping changes–good, bad, and transcendent. 

The story is loosely divided into three sections. The first is our inside-the-skull introduction to the two main characters, and the circumstances of their lives. The second is a tear in the fabric of the universe and a peek at the mechanics of the world. The third is a glimpse of liberation.

In the end I was left at the edge of a cliff and wanting to know what happened next–a very good thing.

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Strength of WaterStrength of Water tells the interwoven stories of Sati and Satyan, two young adults with a haunting, shared desire: to try on another’s form, and to experience the benefits that come from it. 

Their story unfolds at a Bangalorean university in 1999, against a background of liberties and civil rights being stripped away with increasing vigor. The dreamy, stream-of-consciousness narrative moves seamlessly between the two characters as they consider their individual reasons, pains, and growing fears. The society around Sati and Saytan is contracting. The threats are growing closer to home. 

Sati is driven to protect herself and her family, and has embraced mythic and metaphysical options. Satyan is estranged from his own family, discontented and unanchored, and looking for an escape. He is ready when Sati’s drive becomes action, and fulfills their wishes in an extraordinary way.

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Satyamurthy’s moody, lyrical prose and smoothly blended perspectives turn an odd premise into a thoughtful exploration. Strength of Water reminded me strongly of Geoff Ryman’s The Warrior Who Carried Life, with its transformations and heroic quest. And the unexpected leap of an ending did more than make me want to know more about the characters. It makes me want to go back, and read their story over again. 

 

Compline Harbinger Press

And just like that, the winter holidays are upon us–even though we still have a few weeks until winter itself is upon us. The whole cycle seems to come around sooner each year.

I must say, though, I would be happy without the whole snow for Thanksgiving thing.

But on to publishing updates and other happier news!

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On November 29, my flash fiction story Compline appeared online at Harbinger Press. Click on through and check it out–in addition to mine, there are a slew of solid flash pieces to be found there.

And later this month, Camden Park Press will be releasing the charity anthology Yearning to Breathe Free to benefit RAICES. Following an introduction by the incredibly talented S.L. Edwards, my reprinted story “Imago” shares a TOC with such fine authors as Brooke Warra, Sam Schreiber, Michael Bruggeman, and many others.

winter is coming

If you can, please order a copy as soon as it becomes available and support an important cause. If you can’t afford to order it, please help spread the word.

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As soon as I finish plowing through my re-read of the first three Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser books, I will get back to my to-be-read pile. Look out for reviews of the recent novel Strength of Water by Jayaprakash Satyamurthy, and the upcoming collection Shout Kill Revel Repeat by Scott R. Jones.

Until then, enjoy what snow may come and try not to let the holidays eat you alive.