Wow, Mr K’s Agony Column has a lovely, lovely review of Sourdough and Other Stories.
Our world is wrought not from atoms and molecules, but emotion and vision. Colors are not the result of wavelengths and photons, but feelings and intuitions. The soil we walk upon is not dirt; it is our memories, layered with love and regret. And our lives are spells we cast with every word we say, lost in the wind.
Angela Slatter knows this world well, and even though she sets her stories in a world much like, but nominally not our world, her collection ‘Sourdough and Other Stories’ captures an essence that cannot be denied. There is magic in this world. It is not just what we feel, but that we feel.
The stories in ‘Sourdough’ unfold around Lodellan, a labyrinthine knot of streets and lives where the heart has mastered the world, if not itself. It is a world where what we might call magic is common, but devoid of “magic.” The mind holds this world in an uneasy grip, like a palm scooping water from a river. If happiness can be made, so can its opposite, and rather more easily. The men and women of Lodellan strive for success, but failure is often the reward for their efforts. Everything here is unfamiliar, and yet so elemental as to be utterly familiar.
The rest, she is here.