Four new reviews of Nalo Hopkinson’s fascinating FALLING IN LOVE WITH HOMINIDS.
For AESCIFI, Jonathan Crowe enjoyed his first encounter with Nalo Hopkinson’s works.
These are also stories of considerable subtlety, stories in which a single word like douen or mooncalf can contain multitudes and unlock clues to the story’s meaning. Situations that appear everyday and ordinary at the start of the tale are revealed to be deeply uncanny by the end. If Hopkinson has a modus operandi, this is it: Her stories are mysteries that reveal themselves in a measured and matter-of-fact way, with little flash but understated power.
FALLING IN LOVE WITH HOMINIDS reveals a writer at the height of her powers. In any short story collection, original anthology or even magazine issue you resign yourself to finding a few really good stories alongside the merely competent. Not so here: The overall quality is very high, each story existing in a sort of state of grace.
I have to confess that this was my first encounter with Hopkinson. (Don’t look at me like that: Her books are on my to-read shelf … along with eight hundred or so others.) This made writing this review more of a challenge, because my approach involves placing the book I’m reviewing in the context of the writer’s career and the field in general. But conveying the delight and the shock of encountering a voice for the first time has its value as well. I look forward to reading more of her work.
At HAZLITT, Tobias Carroll discusses FALLING IN LOVE WITH HOMINIDS within his feature about the uses of fables in fiction.
Her new collection, FALLING IN LOVE WITH HOMINIDS, spans a wide stylistic range: there are stories of children living in a society where aging transforms them into distorted, carnivorous creatures; there’s also a fascinating look at art in culture in one of the most unconventional stories of time travel you’re likely to read.
Over at STRANGE HORIZONS, John Clute reviews the collection.
They sweat. They drip. They itch and flow. If this is what hominids are, you want to be there.
Oddly, Pamela Wylie at THE REVIEW OF ARTS, LITERATURE, PHILOSOPHY AND THE HUMANITIES covers only five stories from the collection. Though the piece does sharing a charming elephant picture.
In four pages, Ms. Hopkinson enchants us as the elephant has enchanted Jenny. In her later research, she learns that “it must have been an Indian elephant; an African one would have never fit through her doorway.” And at the end, months later, we see her, leaning against the balcony railing “for an hour or so, lotion in hand, hopefully scanning the darkening sky.”
For more information on FALLING IN LOVE WITH HOMINIDS, visit the Tachyon page.
Cover art by Chuma Hill
Design by Elizabeth Story