Fantasy · Short Story

Review: “Chamber Music for Animals” by Katherine Vaz

coyoteroadThis is another story from the Coyote Road anthology, which I’m enjoying very much. One of the reasons I chose to read this story is the illustration of the orangutan at the beginning of the story. Does this story really have an orangutan? I immediately thought, (1) cool, there is an orangutan in this story, and (2) hey, orangutans are not tricksters.

That pretty much set up my mood for the whole story. I was fascinated and distracted the whole time. I get that monkeys are tricksters in Chinese lore, but orangutans are not monkeys. And the Malay trickster would be Sang Kancil, a mousedeer. But this orangutan is really a toy, with a transistor radio inside him. He had been forgotten for a long time, until the son of his original owner was dying from leukemia and she (Sophie) dug him up to comfort her son with music. The orangutan, Rangy, had been feeling abandoned because both Sophie and her son Philip had grown out of him, but gradually realised that they still loved him, as they took comfort in his presence now as adults. The story is also about healing, as Rangy attempts to heal Philip with his music, and in turn is healed by Sophie and Philip with their love.

I’ve also been reading/re-reading some short stories by Charles de Lint, including “Merlin Dreams in the Mondream Wood” (from the Waifs and Strays anthology, also from Spiritwalk) and “Sign Here” (not really sure which anthology this is from; I discovered it in my e-books folder and I don’t remember getting it from anywhere), both of which I really loved.

~ originally posted on blogspot

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