Monday, 23 March 2009

Short Story Monday: 'The Great Chain of Being' by Kim Edwards

This is being reviewed for John's Short Story Monday. This is the third short story I have read and reviewed this weekend and another great one.
'The Great Chain of Being' is the first story in Kim Edward's (author of The Memory Keeper's Daughter) collection The Secrets of a Fire King, if this is anything to go by I may be reviewing lots of stories from this collection.

Eshlaini is one of thirteen children in a house largely controlled by a domineering father. The mother is allowed the first 5 years with the child then he renames them after a past relative, claiming 'history repeated itself'. The children, all with the exception of Eshlaini are renamed after previous relative whose qualities or bad bits they resemble.

Eshlaini is the one child who is left to her mother, being there to hear the midwife warn that another childbirth will kill her mother. When her mother gives birth to twins after this and is clearly dieing Eshlaini, with her 9 year olds mind, thinks that if the babies die her mother will survive. She is caught lowering a pillow over their mouths, and quickly branded by her father Rohila - after his mad mother.

Her life then follows, one of seclusion and servitude to her father till his death and her cance to reclaim herself and her real name.

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