Read Come See the Living Dryad by Theodora Goss Free Online
Book Title: Come See the Living Dryad|
The author of the book: Theodora Goss
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 676 KB
Edition: Tor Books
Date of issue: March 8th 2017
ISBN: No data
ISBN 13: No data
Read full description of the books Come See the Living Dryad:I am improbable, am I not?
Almost, but not quite, impossible.
theodora goss won my heart with the stunning free tor short Red as Blood and White as Bone, and after giving me something so perfectly perfect, it would have taken a complete dud to mar my high opinion of her. fortunately, this is no dud. it’s on the long side as far as these free shorts go, and to be honest, there have been many saturdays when i’ve been choosing which free tor short to read for my one-a-week goal (which is usually undertaken in the 5-6 a.m. hour of the day) and i’ve seen the word “novella” or “novelette” in my scrolling and said, “not at this time, thank you!” because it can be very sleepy in the wee hours, and committing to something of (comparatively) substantial length may result in unproductive dozing. however, in this case, i didn't even pause before saying YES PLEASE! i was completely confident that this would be well-written and magical and would suck me in and keep any drowsiness at bay.
and i was mostly correct.
i was sucked in and no drowsiness occurred, but there was no magic here, other than the magic that you feel anytime you read something by a talented author. this isn’t a fairy tale, nor is it even tinged with fantasy elements. it is a beautifully-written, thoroughly developed and touching story, but not a magical one.
it’s about a present-day woman investigating the 1888 murder of her great-great grandmother and namesake daphne merwin, who was exhibited by her husband “professor” lewison merwin, as “the living dryad,” but was more precisely, less-romantically a woman afflicted with lewandowsky-lutz dysplasia, a rare but real condition that causes the skin to develop growths that resemble bark, and extensions like a tree’s branches. a man was convicted and hanged for daphne's murder, but there are details of the case that raise questions in modern-daphne's mind, and she feels a connection and responsibility to her ancestor, from whom she inherited not only her name, but also the condition, although in a smaller, more manageable capacity.
a photograph of her great-great grandmother is evocatively described:
It shows her seated on what looks like a column with a Corinthian capital, about the height of a kitchen stool, wearing a long white gown that leaves her arms bare. She is holding her arms up as though they were a bifurcated trunk with branches and twigs growing from them. Her skin is rough and bark-like to the elbows, but perfectly smooth above. Her hair is done up in the Victorian idea of a classical chignon. The gown is floor-length, but she is raising one foot so you can see the thick, gnarled growths on her toes. They do, indeed, look like tree roots. You have to give Lewison Merwin credit for one thing: he did a good job pruning her. The branches are thinned out, trimmed back in places. Despite their weight, she could lift her arms. She could walk. If you look closely at the original photograph, you can see what is not obvious from the online version: the rough skin on her forehead. But it does not grow down to her eyes. She could see. She could even have a child. She looks off to the side rather than at the viewer, but her chin is raised, elegantly, proudly. If you ignore the growths on her arms and feet, it is the photograph of an ordinary, if very attractive, Victorian woman.
it's a combination of murder mystery, victorian fiction, and family history/research paper, complete with ephemera and found documents of the time. it's also a sort of exploitative pygmalion story in which a young disfigured girl is rescued from certain poverty by an ambitious man who transforms her into an attraction and a lover, but at the cost of her dignity and the threat of displacement by the novelty of another afflicted woman.
it's like a true crime documentary treatment of The Book of Speculation, and it's so beautifully written, you won't even wonder what it's doing on the tor site in the first place, because the answer is simple: being awesome.
read it for yourself here:
Read information about the authorTheodora Goss's publications include the short story collection In the Forest of Forgetting (2006); Interfictions (2007), a short story anthology coedited with Delia Sherman; Voices from Fairyland (2008), a poetry anthology with critical essays and a selection of her own poems; and The Thorn and the Blossom (2012), a two-sided novella in an accordion format. She has been a finalist for the Nebula, Crawford, Locus, and Mythopoeic Awards, and on the Tiptree Award Honor List. She has won the World Fantasy and Rhysling Awards.
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