There is one thing I have learned from all these stories so far is ‘You better learn to get comfortable outside your comfort zone because that is where all the magic is’. I have been writing ‘Comfort zone quotes’ too (Insta stories- Insta button on top 😉 ) but that is for another time to discuss. Let’s get to the review:
While the last stories ventured into personal issues through magic, the next two short stories in ‘Wizards’ are that of wishful thinking and time travel.
For me, this image somewhat represents both, a young Rebecca and maybe a young Eli
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Slipping Sideways Through Eternity
This Jane Yolen story is exquisite in terms of human emotions. There are so many great aspects to the story that the downside almost diminishes. This time travel tale is about a young girl named Rebecca who is born in a Jewish family and is capable of seeing Elijah, whenever he appears.
In the essence of this story, Rebecca travels back in time with Elijah to save a girl, Masha from a Nazi death camp bringing her through time, in America where she lives a full life of friends and family going on to be Rebecca’s grandmother in the future. The simple story is without any adventure except a few feverish thoughts into an artists’s mind (Rebecca’s mind).
The story confuses me with its chicken-egg loop: If Rebecca hadn’t saved Masha, would she still be born in the future? If she wouldn’t be born, will she be able to travel back to her time and exist? Though Elijah made it pretty clear that the answer to my first question is ‘NO’ but time travel is a fascinating and a boggling concept.
As a part of a ‘magical’ short story book, this one is underrated and has more reality than the wonders of magic. Even though I love the neat correlation of real life events in this story, the words ‘Though Eternity’ feel unnecessary in the title. For a title, ‘Slipping Sideways’ would have sufficed or ‘Slipping Sideways Through Time’ would have more suited. Nonetheless, it makes for a great read and change of pace from the rest of the tales.
The Stranger’s Hands
Tad Williams through this story projects the human mindset of wishful thinking and how darkness and light are all part those wishes. The phrase ‘careful what you wish for’ is the mantra that runs through the veins of this story.
When a stranger with a power to grant wishes turns up in a nameless village, the out pouring of humans from all direction is immeasurable and unstoppable. Fulfilling desire from health to gold, Eli is a lost sick man with hands like a wishing well. He is later discovered to be a evil wizard. His greatest enemy marches right up to him and the wizard flees for his safety in the mountains. That is where the story ends and leaves us, readers in great speculation if the good wizard really made the evil flee or simply awoke his own wishes by clasping hands with the magical man bringing to life a dulled evil, all for his own glory. The story mostly follows the journey Father Bannity takes who uncovers the innocence and identity of Eli, but fails to see the final events, leaving room for us to wonder. Thus, the story is curiously with and yet without a conclusive ending.
Through his perspective, we see the people who were once at the feet of Eli wishing for a miracle were now against him after learning his true identity irrespective of the harmless good he had done for them. The harsh reality of how the ‘public’ works is true to every bit. Though what I truly enjoyed was the middle of this story where the smaller stories of people and desires coming to life, resided.
In the end, I was left wondering, what do I truly want? To be a successful writer someday (and I work day and night for it, too), of course! But then I question myself if that is what I truly and deeply want? Will my desires end there or will I want more? And I instantly know the answer, I will always want more but I will always want myself to be the one who works for it and not some magic.
Ok! Maybe magic can give me a hand every now and then when I get tired.
Do you know what you truly and deeply wish for?
Meanwhile, stay hooked for the next update in this mind blowing series!