1 January 2010

Suggested Reading: "The Last Worders"

Free Speculative Fiction short stories online.

Read it here:"The Last Worders"
By Karen Joy Fowler
In Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet

In her 2003 Nebula Award winning story, Fowler talks about "What I didn't see", an event that happens off stage but which questions macho and feminine views of the world. "The Last Worders" is a wonderful companion piece. It's about what the narrator did not hear and raises concerns about language and its expressions.

As babies, the narrator and her twin spoke to each other without the use of known language. Once they learned English, though, their pre-language was lost to them. Much of this is echoed in what happens to them later.

Language and understanding run through this story, and the more I think about it, the cleverer I think it is, like the town where the river is absent but it is always raining, the things the people understand but which don't make sense, and what we know with, or without, words.

Morva Shepley

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