On Fragile Waves by E. Lily Yu

On Fragile Waves by E. Lily Yu

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Gorgeous and heartbreaking.

I decided to read this novel after enjoying Yu’s short story “The Witch of Orion Waste and the Boy Knight” (Uncanny Magazine, Sept/Oct 2016), and I was expecting more fairy tales, less haunting, and less un-couched trauma. I wasn’t expecting it to be so brutal, but I’m glad it was. The way the world treats migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers is disgusting and should be talked about and changed.

On Fragile Waves is a coming-of-age story, and a migrant story, and a trauma story, and is about storytelling and human rights and the impact of war. Rich with details, and very much in the same vein as Aliette de Bodard, and the way she weaves the lingering, inter-generational impact of war, and the silence of the older generation, into her work. Yu’s work here is not as overtly fantastic as de Bodard’s space operas, but is every it as visceral and powerful and beautifully rendered.

I recommend to readers who like the literary fantastic.




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