‘Foaling Season’ by Aryn Kyle

Foaling Season by Aryn Kyle, 2004

The magic trick:

Leaning heavily but beautifully on a recurring symbol

I love a good Aryn Kyle story. This is the one that got her career started. It won awards and became the basis for her novel The God Of Animals. I haven’t read the novel, but I can say it works perfectly as a story.

It moves easily and elegantly through several key storylines and relationships. As such there are plenty of segues and transitions, but you never see the strings. You just move with the story.

My favorite aspect is the use of the mayflies. They are flying up from the canal into our protagonist’s house, beautiful, mysterious, ominous. You know as a reader in the moment that you’re getting a capital-S Symbol. But that’s fine. It’s such a cool image you don’t care. Plus, the meanings and effects aren’t overly direct or static as the mayflies reappear throughout the story.

And that’s quite a trick on Kyle’s part.

The selection:

“Be my good girl and close the window.” She tossed her pale hand limply at the wrist and sighed heavily. “Those little white bugs are coming in. I’m afraid they’ll bite me in my sleep.”

“Mayflies don’t bite, Mom,” I said, but I crossed the room to close the window.

“I hate them,” she said. “Filthy things. Off that horrible water.”

In the blue glow of the TV the mayflies looked gray and sickly, and I tried to fan them out the window. I could feel my mother’s stare on the back of my neck. “Would you like to stay and tell me what you learned in school today?” She patted the bed beside her.

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