“Book Review: The Girl & The Fox Pirate”
Reviewed by Stan Rastogi
The Girl & The Fox Pirate hurls you into a world that is equal parts strange and mesmerising.
Turning to the first page of Kate Gehan’s The Girl & The Fox Pirate, you don’t know what to expect. With a quirky title that belongs to a single piece in a collection of short stories, you may even be sceptical about which words and characters you will find within its pages. But fear not, as Gehan will have you hooked from the first sentence.
The collection has a strong start with the ever so puzzling piece “Now They Would Behave,”a short tale involving dragons and family outings to reflect on broader themes of familial responsibility and the emotions that come along with it. Gehan makes a definitive mark here with a simplistic writing style, perhaps a deliberate choice to allow the audience to read between the lines.
The act of reading between the lines, coincidentally, is soon deemed necessary. Almost every piece uses metaphors, understatements, and euphemisms to explore grave subject matters in everyday narratives. But each story is a magic realist journey, and each journey a mini-puzzle dabbling in subjectivity. There aren’t any right answers, just personally interpretative ones.
“You’re here now, but this isn’t easy.”
A few common themes that recur throughout The Girl & The Fox Pirate include grief, loss, and desire, to name a few. Through her usage of universal emotions amongst everyday incidents, Gehan displays prowess and an ability to strike a chord with the reader and continue relating to them throughout the collection. Indeed, an adventure you’d be sorry to miss out on.
Gehan approaches less-explored themes and occurrences in her stories, and it works in The Girl & The Fox Pirate’s favor. Diving into painful issues such as abortion and loss, Gehan utilizes her melodic prose style to keep you tethered to the pages through tumultuous waters of suppressed emotions. A dreamy exploration of artful nightmares begins, one that leaves you more mindful than pained.
“The iridescent wavelengths produce a euphoric neurological affect, a throbbing joy.”
All in all, the book is going to be a hard one for you to put down; I personally gulped through its entirety within a rather long waiting period for a doctor. Don’t be surprised to find yourself revisiting the words and stories printed across these pages multiple times and even relentlessly. Gehan creates a new world within each piece, fully realized and tangibly impactful. If there have ever been any books you regretted reading, rest assured The Girl & The Fox Pirate shall never make the list.
Publisher: Mojave River Press
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