Tuesday, October 13, 2009

"Out of the Woods" by Patricia A. McKillip

Turkey Day Marathon Part Three: Turkey Day Revolutions

Another good story comes out of my post-Turkey Day catchup! So far we're two for three, which is not bad at all. Into the woods is an interesting story of crushing normalcy which seems to take place in the background of a Medieval Romance or Arthurian Legend-type world (which are actually one in the same, but anyway). It's the story of a peasant woman, Leta, who spends her days keeping house for a local wizard, and her nights trying to reconnect with her increasingly distant woodcutter husband. She feels the boredom an monotony of her mundane life acutely. To make matters worse, Leta is witness to several fantastic events, one of which I swear is a scene between Merlin and Nimue, a.k.a. the Lady of the Lake, although no one seems to listen to her when she recounts these events.

Ultimately, I think the story shows the power of fantasy to help people escape from the mundane. That the fantastic is ultimately Leta's escape from her life; that it is more compelling and, well, real, than her own life has become. In the end, I'm not sure if you should be happy for Leta at the end of the story or not. You certainly don't feel good for her during the story, but the conclusion is intentionally left vague. You feel that it is an escape, but you're not sure to where.

Anyway, I should stop there. I still have two more stories to write about tonight.

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