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Salt of the Air (英語) ハードカバー – 2009/4/30
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You are familiar with the salt of the earth. But did you know there is an even finer, more delicate essence?
Take wisdom and imagination, responsibility and beauty, and mix them together in arcane proportions to form a rich and peculiar brine. The resulting water of life is an emotional muddy liquid, filled with existential sediment swirling in the light of secret reality and reflecting prismatic colors of hope and wonder. If allowed to evaporate -- escape, flee, ascend into the ether and join the music of the spheres -- what remains is the quintessence; a precious concentrate that is elusive and volatile, neither fully solid nor so illusory as to be devoid of pithy substance. It is the Salt of the Air.
In this debut collection from the critically acclaimed author of Dreams of the Compass Rose and Lords of Rainbow, the nineteen stories are distillations of myth and philosophy, eroticism and ascetic purity. Dipping into an ancient multi-ethnic well, they are the stuff of fantasy -- of maidens and deities and senior retirees, of emperors and artists and con artists, of warriors and librarians, of beings without a name and things very fey indeed....
Don't be afraid of ingesting ethereal salt.
Open your mind and inhale.
"Cautionary, sensual stories of love, reversal and revenge upend fairy tale conventions in Nazarian's lush collection... Sumptuous detail, twisty plots and surprising endings lift these extravagant tales." --Publishers Weekly
"These are beautiful, haunting confections, reminiscent of Tanith Lee's erotically charged tales... Fine shades of emotion, mythic grandeur, crystalline prose, sharp revisionist intelligence: these are Vera Nazarian's hallmarks..." --Nick Gevers, Locus
Vera Nazarian immigrated to the USA from the former USSR as a kid, sold her first story at the age of 17, and since then has published numerous works in anthologies and magazines, and has seen her fiction translated into eight languages.
She made her novelist debut with the critically acclaimed novel Dreams of the Compass Rose , followed by epic fantasy about a world without color, Lords of Rainbow. Her novella The Clock King and the Queen of the Hourglass with an introduction by Charles de Lint made the Locus Recommended Reading List for 2005. This first collection Salt of the Air , with an introduction by Gene Wolfe, contains the 2007 Nebula Award-nominated "The Story of Love." Recent work includes the 2008 Nebula Award-nominated, baroque novella The Duke in His Castle .
Ancient myth, moral fables, eclectic philosophy, and her Armenian and Russian ethnic heritage play a strong part in all her work, combining the essences of things and places long gone into a rich evocation of wonder.
In addition to being a writer and award-winning artist, she is also the publisher of Norilana Books.
Official website: www.veranazarian.com
This is a very strong collection of short stories, entertaining, easy to get into, enjoyable reads. Delicious twists on familiar myths with surprise endings. Recommended for about anyone with an interest in fantasy.
The new revised edition includes several additional stories, including "Demon Slayer."
"Moya Rossiya" - opening story, an old woman visits Russia before the final Closing.
"Swans" - a mute woman is sentenced to be burned as a witch (the old tale, short and poignant)
"The Princess, the Pea, and Absolute Receptiveness" - the young royal scion is stricken with lust for the mysterious visitor. Nazarian writes sensuality so well, it's creepy and memorable.
"Beauty and His Beast" - the old tale, with the genders reversed
"Starry King" - a woman with a well of pain in her eyes searches for the legend who can grant her oblivion
"A Young Woman in the House of Old" - probably inspired by Tanith Lee's "Dark Dance," but until I read the latter, it struck me as completely unexpected and delightful.
"Wound on the Moon" - fantastic story, almost a mini-novel (I'd love to read the novel-length version) - a thief is captured by a prince, and the prince falls in love with her, to her curse or blessing
"Demon Slayer" - about a priest sworn to celibacy, tempted by a demon - is the longest and one of the most interesting of the collection.
"A Story of Love" - Nebula-nominated story
-Beauty and his Beast
-The Young Woman in a House of Old
-Absolute Receptiveness, the Princess, and the Pea
-Bonds of Light
-The Starry King
-The Stone Face, the Giant, and the Paradox
-A Thing of Love
-The Slaying of Winter
-Sun, In Its Copper Season
-Lady of the Castle
-Wound on the Moon
-I Want To Paint The Sky
-Lore of Rainbow
-The Story of Love
The only stories original to this collection are Story of Love and Lore of Rainbow, but Salt of the Air collects Vera Nazarian's stories from old Sword and Sorceress anthos and outdated web publishings and other hard-to-find or mildly-expensive-to-collect items. Wound on the Moon was the first story I read by Vera Nazarian, a long time ago in my yet-still-close youth, and I've always remembered it. Marion Zimmer Bradley compared it to early Tanith Lee. It's a vaguely gothic story of a swordswoman looking for her missing lover. A Thing of Love is another decadent tale of a tyrant's executioner and her soul. The Starry King always makes me cry, the story of a woman searching for a myth. These are my favourites, all with elaborate prose and shiny, decadent surroundings. (Okay, Starry King isn't decadent, it's just a very goth sort of story.) There is also one story set in the world of Lords of Rainbow (Lore of Rainbow) and one set in the world of the Compass Rose (The Story of Love). If I remember correctly, Rossia Moya either won an award or was nominated for one. An emigre goes back to Russia for a visit right before it's scheduled to be closed off from the world. It's a very Russian story. Swans is an interesting reworking of the fairy tale of the girl with the swan brothers.
There is one semimajor typographical error in the book, Wound on the Moon is listed as starting on page 185 in the contents but starts on page 197. However, the title headings change to Wound on the Moon on page 187 and only change back to Lady of the Castle on page 193, shortly before the end of the story.