LOST OBJECTS by Marian Womack

This is not a review. Marian Womack’s LOST OBJECTS (Luna Press, 2018) is a collection short fiction that illuminates our emotional states of existence in this threatened world. Many of the tales here are post-apocalyptic; or, if not post-apocalyptic, then post-disaster, where individuals in a changed world must come to terms with what’s been lost, and finding ways to continue living with things they barely understand. I mean this in both senses, where the world beyond them is as fractured as the world within, and escape is at best uncertain. This distress is often reflected in the appearance of animals as portents—deer, kingfishers, butterflies, wolves, and ospreys—each a harbinger of change, and as often a guide into as out of personal tragedy. I had the pleasure and fortune to read “Orange Dogs” when it was submitted for consideration while I was editing YEAR’S BEST WEIRD FICTION, VOLUME 3, and I took the story immediately, being impressed with its nuanced balance of emotions and depiction of sublimated desperation. Were I to select a story now from this new book, however, I might just as easily select “The Kingfisher”, in which loss of all kinds slowly takes a person apart. Marian writes with an ear for emotional truth that resonates within the reader, and the book continues to reward even after the covers are closed. Another prime example of a first collection powerful enough to scar, and one you can expect to see on award short-lists next year.