Tinder Stricken, by Heidi C. Vlach – Book Review by Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer.

Tinder Stricken, by Heidi C. Vlach.tinderstrickenfin_1750-by-2500
Sudbury, Ontario, Heidi C. Vlach, May 2015, trade paperback $14.00 (266 pages), Kindle $3.99.

“By dawn’s feeble light and one smoldering candle, Esha stared into the polished tin mirror, full of dread like every other morning. The goat had stolen a little more of her body through the night.” (p. 1)

Esha lives in a world in which most people turn into animals during their lifetimes:

“Only the luckiest people got to see their faces turn distinguished and their human hair go silver. The heavens gave humans precious little time in their ideal bodies and capable minds, before they slid back into more bestial form. Esha had reached her forty-eighth year of life and she was still mostly presentable – after physicians telling her she would be a bleating beast by her thirty-fifth. To some degree, Esha was doing well.” (ibid.)

Esha may be doing well physically, but socially she is among the lowest castes. Her world has an Eastern Asian aura; her greeting is “namaste”, her currency is rupees, bamboo grows everywhere; she is a farm woman working in the fields – her official name is Esha Of The Fields – of the Janjuman Farms, along with many identical low-caste women of the Fields. Most of them chew betel, a common narcotic. Esha has many field-sisters, but she has only one close friend; Gita Of The Fields, who is turning into a deer.

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