I’m hoping by now that you already know who the esteemed Ms. Walters is. The queen of deft, delightfully flowing, yet quietly unobtrusive words, and the wielder of one hell of a wicked blade aimed right at your weak spots, is back with another handful of slender needles to poke holes in the red lump of knotted muscle. It doesn’t disappoint.
The door gets booted right off the hinges with “Tooth, Tongue and Claw,” a beautiful take on the “olde tyme damsel in distress” yarn. Except that, this go-round, the young woman who has been sold to monsters as the price of peace (as one does), chooses to forge her own freedom in blood. It also works as a great allegory for the expected plight of women, their purity sacrificed to mediate the baser instincts of man and all that rot, with a significantly more interesting solution to the problem.
I could go through each of the stories, but you only need to look at one to know if this book is for you. “Floating Girls: A Documentary” is ostensibly a simple ditty about some girls who up and floated away one day, never to be seen again. Beneath that, though, it’s about the unpacking and preservation of an inconvenient truth most would rather leave buried in platitudes and lies. It’s about the cost of silence and the lives it dismantles. Deeper still, it’s about the need to tell those tales and to break that silence for those who can or will not speak for themselves. I don’t know if Damien intended this to be a metaphorical manifesto for what she does in her fiction, but “Floating Girls” stands up as such.
These are stories that need to be told, just as there are those out there who need to hear them. I’m thankful we have someone like Damien willing and able to do that, even if she seems to enjoy making me cry.