4 out of 4 stars
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Magpie is a fantasy short story written by Paul Jameson. This story touches on the themes of birth, life, death, destruction, and the idea that there are things out there that we might not fully understand.
Told from the perspective of an outsider looking in, we are given a brief glimpse into the life of the young child Magpie and the world that she inhabits. It is a fantastical world somehow both real and yet seemingly illusory. There is something to Magpie that touches the surface yet remains hidden deeper still. Although we are there from the moment of her birth and watch her grow into her adulthood, who or what she is or what her world truly holds never becomes fully revealed to us.
This book is exactly the kind of story that I like. At only 20 pages it would seem almost impossible to write a solid review if it weren't for the absolute brilliance of the author. It's as if a soft hand lightly painted these words onto a piece of crumbling parchment paper and then left it there for you to find, very nearly at the end of time, a story of some barely describable event that happened long ago when the world was still alive.
Magpie is full of poetic imagery reminiscent of a certain work by one of my favorite poets, Robert Browning. One of his most famous poems "Childe Rolande to the Dark Tower Came" was reimagined by Stephen King and made into the Dark Tower series. This book could fit right into that series, indeed a reference is made in passing more than once to a Dark Tower and it's significance in this interesting land, and that fits in perfectly with the story. Something happened in the past to make the world the way it is now, which is somehow emptier, some destructive force. There is something in the woods and we aren't quite told what it is. What is burning out there? A ghost from the past? Can you smell it?
This book made me want to seek out other books by Paul Jameson. A true masterpiece, I can only hope that Mr. Jameson decides to write this short story into a full novel as he hints he might do in the "About the Story" section near the end. Perhaps we may even get a better look into the mysterious Raven. I recommend everyone read this book. I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars.
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