A review of John Park’s Nightward in Tesseracts 14: Strange Canadian Stories.
By Derek Newman-Stille
In Nightward, John Park creates a world that has stopped spinning. The sun beats heavily on one half of the world, leaving the other half in darkness and a twilight in between. People in this world seek the sunlight, standing on towers at the dusky edge of the sunward side of the world to see the sun itself, going sun-happy with the sight of it and often losing their memory. This story tracks Korliss, a mysterious figure who is trying to discover himself after a fall from the tower he climbed to witness the sun.
He wakes with a compulsion born more out of instinct than thought to head toward the Nightward side of the world, encountering a variety of people and freeing tortured gryphons along his way. In this world gryphons are shape shifters who can take human form, so their similarity to the human is incredible and Korliss feels a compulsion to rescue them despite the threat to himself and his companions.
This story represents a descent into the darkness and cold that is memory and the feeling that once one leaves one’s home to find himself or herself, he or she may never be able to find home again and may never be comfortable in his or her body.
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