My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I love related short stories, and Angela Slatter takes it to the next level in The Bitterwood Bible and Other Recountings. She explores the history of an order of archivist nuns, their fight against a man seeking immortality, and the strange and tragic tales of the many women whose lives and family histories cross and re-cross paths with this conflict. Each story stands on its own, with perhaps the exception of the final story, “Spells for Coming Forth by Daylight,” which follows immediately on the heels of “By the Weeping Gate” and must tie up all the threads of this epic tale.
This collection absolutely deserved its win of the 2015 World Fantasy Award. I feel like I read a multi-book series in 270 pages. I didn’t want it to end, so I doled out the stories slowly, and when I read the last line of the last story, I desperately wanted to return to the beginning and read it all again. I enjoyed Slatter’s collection of fairy-tale retellings, The Girl with No Hands, but the stories of The Bitterwood Bible make me want to write. They are that satisfying and inspiring.