Review of Lily by Xavier Axelson

Standard

Rating: 4.5 stars

Its Father’s Day and two men are waiting for a little girl to appear.  They are waiting for Lily.    Lily, his beloved little girl, had been lost a year ago, dragged off into the woods by a wolf.  In the time since, Pryor, consumed with his loss, has retreated to his cabin, his days numbed by his grief. Only the love and support of  Ned, his partner, and a plan to reclaim his daughter has kept him sane.  And now the time has come to see if she will return to him, if only for a day.

What a marvelous short story Lily is.  Lyrical in language and strong in its empathy for a parent’s pain, it has a singular voice in Pryor, Lily’s father.  To Pryor ” still believe being Lily’s father is the most important thing in this world.”  And you feel that hole in his life so acutely is she described just before she is ripped from him, her hair all “wild and white – blonde”.  Pryor’s voice and his descriptions provide a wealth of clues and information about his past.  He hears voices, whether is the derogatory words of his dead mother, or whispers from the woods.    He described his lover’s beard as his “summer fur”, and stares into the moonlight woods searching for signs of his daughter.   All three characters here are beautifully realized, one heartbroken, one steady and one filled with wildness and innocence.  I love how we are feed bits of information until we can finally spin together the fibers that make up the tapestry that is this family and its tragedy.

There is such a distinctive style to this story, as the mundane are juxtaposed with the magical.  Like silk against the skin, this story glides over into your memory.  I loved this and hope you will feel the same.

Cover:  While I like the image of the wolf, the two men just do not do justice to this story.

The gentleman in blue looks like he is comtemplating a business decision not the return of a daughter. The other is scarcely the image of a quirky silversmith either.  Only the lower half of this cover works.

Publisher: Silver Publishing Company