The Lady Who Plucked Red Flowers Beneath the Queen’s Window • 2010 • Fantasy novella by Rachel Swirsky

★★★★★

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Meta: isfdb. This fantasy novella appeared August 2010 in Subterranean Online. It won the 2011 Nebula Award.

Naeva – who’s title is this fantasy novella’s name-giver – is a powerful sorceress in a matriarchy – in her culture magic is indulged by poetry. She is murdered in the first couple of pages and bound to be summoned as a spirit. In that role she is resurrected through eons of short, but very different and phantastic situations. She experiences culture shock, love and betrayal.

Her character is quite stubborn but likable. As short as the vignettes are, they nonetheless give a valid feeling about the setting and bind the reader to the situation. Every single part could be extended to a whole novel and I’d love to read more.
Only the ending confused me somewhat in a Delany style.
For a story, you could wish for nothing better and it is worthy of the Nebula novella award of 2011.

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