My 2014 review of Jackalope Wives by Ursula Vernon
Read: January 12 to 13, 2014
Genre: Fable, fantasy, myth
Length: 4951 words, short story
Format: Online free fiction
Jackalope Wives is the part of my 100 Short Stories in 2014 challenge.
I have read Anasi Boys and I have read a little Sandman both by Neil Gaiman, Jackalope Wives puts me in mind of both. It reads very much like a myth of some pre-industrial people. Where or which is never clear, which I do not mind as it doesn’t matter to the story.
Jackalope Wives also reminds me of the selkie stories that has been making the rounds the last few years, but this is a different kind creature altogether. While many of the selkie stories seems to center around the jealousy of the other women and envy of the men who does not have a selkie wife and the selkies’ endless longing back to the sea is also a theme. None of those themes makes it into Jackalope Wives. This is a story about (thinking hard) getting what you should not want, about the fact that you can’t both be kind and heartless at the same time, if you try things goes all wrong. It is about being willing to offer your live so that someone else don’t have to suffer. It is about the kindness and the hardness of old women, of grandmothers.
It is a very good story. It holds so much emotion without pulling my heart-strings. Jackalope Wives has the fable or myth-like air about it that I always finds fascinating. It is the same fascination that draws me to the myths of old. To the norse mythology, to the Finish ones, to the Greek ones. You tell a story about something that is so obviously fantastical (dear-bunnies that turn into woman and dance in the desert) and that is a perfectly fine story on its own, but you are also telling a different story at the same time. It is one of the oldest forms of storytelling and it has always drawn me. When it is done well as it is in this case it is amazing.
I really liked the ending as well, it was not what I was expecting and I liked it a lot.
So Ursula Vernon thank you for a fascinating, beautiful and scary story with a lot of heart. And thank you for a story about an old woman.
This review was originally posted: January 13, 2014. Updated and edited July 2, 2023