Sunday, August 17, 2014

The Prayer of Ninety Cats, by Caitlin R. Kiernan

The Prayer of Ninety Cats would probably be in the novelette category in awards other than the World Fantasy Awards--it's a pretty substantial piece--but there it is in short fiction.  It seems more lengthy as it is one of those artistic stories that is somewhat hard to read.  It's written in the second person, a really difficult perspective to pull off.  The setting is a theater where you are supposedly viewing scenes from the seriously debauched life of Lady Báthory Erzsébet, minor Hungarian noble from the 17th century.

For me it's odd and chunky and never quite comes together.  The prayer of the title is supposed to be a protective incantation, but doesn't really inspire awe.  Kiernan is a pretty good writer so this almost comes off, but it just seems to me like it needs more work or something.  The artistic manner is intentionally there to take the edge off some pretty revolting acts, but doesn't end up being quite up to making them art.  It's an OK story, but not in my mind a good one.  2 stars from me.

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