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Reviewed by Asher Syed for Readers' Favorite
In Memory of Michelle by Sahara Foley is a paranormal historical short story revolving around an early 20th-century narrator and a camping trip. The story is written in a first-person conversational style. It begins with a brief explanation of the teller’s reason for them camping primitively in a secluded and untouched patch along the Missouri River, having long been fascinated by its beauty. A few days after settling in for a two-week sojourn, the camper witnesses an entirely new life form while fishing in the river. What they see is neither human nor animal known to man, but rather some hybrid, river-dwelling form of the two. The narrator describes their observation and eventual interaction with the beings in perfect, heartbreaking clarity.
I wasn’t sure what to expect going into In Memory of Michelle, but my goodness, am I glad I picked up this tale by Sahara Foley. Simply told and haunting in its descriptions, as a reader, I was left to ponder whether or not the “advancement” of infrastructure, tech, and the claiming of land out of unnecessary convenience is worth the toll. This may or may not be the moral of the story, but one cannot deny that contemplating this encroachment into what was once an untamed landscape is impossible to avoid. I haven’t been choked up by a short story in a very, very long time. Foley took me there. Her words cut deeper than barbed wire, and having a family of unknowns who resemble humans in a small way does the job of showing a reader the inhumanity to which we all, in one way or another, contribute. This is a wonderful little tale, and I am so glad to have read it.