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A Taste of Honey

I sat down to read A TASTE OF HONEY this afternoon because it's quarantine, I haven't read an actual book in like a month, and this novella is pretty short. I heard good things about it back when it was being nominated for awards, always in the same breath as J Y Yang's Tensorate series, which is a strong recommend for me since I love those books. But I wasn't expecting it to rip my guts out quite as boldly as it did!

There are maybe a lot of things I could say, but I find I'd rather spend my time putting my guts back into my abdominal cavity, getting all those tender bits right where they belong. So instead I'll just say: this is a certain kind of queer story that, if you're a queer with a broken heart, can be really fucking hard to read. And here's a quote that shows both the emotional punch and the lovely language Wilson brought to this book:

The sun westered in a red course through clouds over the bayou's far shore, where the gods lived and Femysade would die. Sultry and indifferent, the evening was gathering. Aqib closed his eyes.

A thousand birds, each one a soloist, sang the vespers to him, and backing the birds another choir of one billion: the dry season cicada. Below in the courtyard, a boy—his nephew—threw a stick, and a puppy barked as she went bounding after it. Above in the vault, a silver falcon plunged toward earth, shrieking pre-victory. Aqib was privy to all this secret music, and even his most dogged, irresolvable anguish flagged and fell away in the face of the world's raw beauty. His teeth let go of his bitten lip. His aching hands eased their grip on the sill, no longer clenched so hard lest he tremble. Or wail. He opened his eyes and a few wet blinks sufficed to clear away the blurriness. This could be borne and he would bear it. Aqib drew a long shuddering breath. Life had some worth and meaning. It truly did.


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