“…these hollow men where shadows can thrive.” 

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Possible plot spoiler here? I generally try to avoid plot spoilers in my reviews. Meanwhile, most of my feedback indicates that readers read my reviews alongside me, after each story or after finishing the book, i.e. as a genuine accompanying REview not as a PREview which most other ‘reviews’ tend to be.

A DEED WITHOUT A NAME by JACK LOTHIAN

“I think of the sow, with her bright red snout, her little ones beneath her as she furrowed away desperately.”

‘Farrowing’ is the term used to describe a sow giving birth to piglets. Here, I guess, ‘furrowing’ contains what the sow does to the young if they are still-born.
Here by the end the main point of view of this powerfully written story — often a staccato’s tactile and cruel and nightmarish and down to Earth and fled out to nowhere spiritual — is the youngest sister of three, the other two being the middle and oldest sisters in a shadowy triangulation, the shadow that the youngest swallowed from her father while the other sisters’ shadows were cast by them. Cast or thrown? But to which throne did the bewitching words of the youngest send the Thane of Cawdor who touched her sex and importuned all three sisters in these wilds of furrowing sows, sowing destinies. Not born a runt, but now, from a missing, once frost-bitten, toe, rutted by a man called Michael. And they all, including Michael who has gone to the fatal battles that the youngest had caused by her words to the Thane, abandon her to whatever hallowed peace of nowhere’s place she can run from the flames that might have otherwise made her tasty pork. She is not still-born, but still born.

“…these hollow men where shadows can thrive.”

***

Between the idea
    And the reality
    Between the motion
    And the act
    Falls the Shadow
                                    For Thine is the Kingdom
(From ‘The Hollow Men’, T.S. Eliot)

***

Full context of this review: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/2021/12/11/the-best-horror-of-the-year-13-ellen-datlow/

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