Tree Spirit and Other Strange Tales by Michael Eisele
Hardcover – Tartarus Press – Apr 2018 – 291 pages
The fifteen stories that comprise this new collection have diverse settings and speak with many voices. Theirs is a magical world that often impinges on our own.
In ‘Aiden of the Taexili and the Giant’ a pair of unlikely heroes encounter a deadly foe, while ‘Mouse’ follows an artist caught on the boundary between two realities. In ‘Leshi’ a young cadet returns to his ancestral home to solve an ancient riddle, and ‘Come Not Nigh’ takes place on a distant planet far into the future. A run-down apartment building with an unusual caretaker is the setting for ‘Mr Saria’, while the beautiful young woman in ‘The Wife’ finds that marrying into a noble family is not quite as she imagined it would be. ‘Brown Jenkins’, ‘The Gardinel’, and ‘The Black Man’ are linked tales which tell of the life of an Appalachian witch as seen through the eyes of her familiar. We follow a young Sami woman on a perilous sea journey to save her people from starvation in ‘The Selchie,’ and a novice priest penetrates the rainforests of the Amazon to learn the fate of a vanished missionary in ‘The Nun’s Tale’.