Sheshwahtay is a story that has stayed with me since I read it. KJ Collard has wrought something worthwhile here.
The story has a pseudo-native feel to it, not simply because of the names Two Horns and Red Foot, but from the pacing and the focus and the feel of the story’s fabric. This is a fully imagined society populated by fully realized people. Redheaded people. I really do wonder if I missed a story meeting somewhere along the line.
As I sat on my front porch, I could not help but beam at the tableau surrounding my young cousins. Two Horns had been born eleven years ago with both middle fingers gracefully extended. His recklessly carefree attitude was with him from the day he was born. But where Two Horns was antagonistic and playful, Red Foot was creative and loving. Their personalities could not be further apart on the spectrum, but their twin-like looks made it undeniable they were related. I loved my young cousins It did my heart good to see them act like children. The reports coming from our sister community in The Valley painted a very bleak picture of the world that they would inherit.
“One day, Two Horns will learn better than to tease you. Now, come here, Red Foot,” I coaxed, unable to control the urge to hug her.
Red Foot’s face broke into smile. “I love you, Ahma!”
Third Rosemary, A.K.A. Ahma, is a sympathetic character with a wonderful and unique voice. I found myself really sympathizing with her feelings of loss and regret, and rejoicing with her when.. well, let’s leave that at that. I’ll not give away the ending here, save to say that I’m glad it wasn’t written by the Wombat, and it was nice to see that particular old friend again.
If you haven’t yet gotten the book, it is available at Lulu.com in paperback and e-book formats. It is also available at Barnes and Noble as paperback and for the Nook, and at Amazon (paperback) and Amazon (kindle). All proceeds go to Water is Life, and it is a very good book, so you should buy it.