by Tim Waggoner
“You can’t have her. You don’t deserve her.”
A short novella with a hell of a grip, the story takes place almost entirely on a canoe floating downstream as Alie and her sister Carin rush to preserve the life of a baby found alone on a sandbar upstream.
Told in an economic style, there’s little of the story that can be revealed without spoiling pivotal elements. It’s the one year anniversary of the birth of Alie’s deceased infant daughter, lost at just four months old, and her sister has planned this canoe trip to help distract Alie from the tragedy of the occasion. The baby is found in the first few pages and the entire plot revolves around the child’s well being among the unprepared adults–and among the monsters.
It’s an excellent story that seizes the reader early on and will not let up, so it would be best if you make sure you have the time to finish it in one sitting. It’s difficult to put down and careens toward a marvelous and thoughtful ending.