Saturday, November 18, 2017
Book Review: 'The Orah' by E.H. James
Canadian author E.H. James is a prolific writer of short stories – stories that test the imagination and call forth ghost like thoughts of the dark world about which we know very little. James is part of that conundrum as there is no biographical information on this gifted author as though that is meant to be part of the mysteries presented. We learn that she has read and researched in the areas of parapsychology and metaphysics, for the past 40 years, and has woven the real and imaginary together into stories of the strange and bizarre. The fruits of her labor show!
James’ mastery of the short story is obvious to those readers fortunate to have been introduced to her craft. In a matter a few pages she is able to conjure an atmosphere that challenges the reader’s courage to enter past the initial page, and the manner in which she quickly sketches lifelike characters and draws us into their interactions with the challenges they encounter is masterful.
THE ORAH is a very strong story, less focused on terror and horror that James’ other stories but one that is riveting in the manner in which she admixes coincidences with common day occurrences. And she always offers us something to learn – a bit of new information to enhance both our minds and our involvement in her stories. In this case it is the title of this story THE ORAH - ‘The Orah is the time keeper of humankind. Within it is contained every day known to man, those already lived, and yet to be lived.’
And as James explains in the synopsis ‘: Liz wished she could go back and do it all again. After all, it was Liz’s fault her mom was dead…or so she believed. Had Liz not delayed her, her mom never would have been killed by that car. And as the twentieth anniversary of her mother’s death came around, Liz could not help but wish it had been her instead. That is, until a gentlemen sits next to her on the park bench. He tells her his story, and she feels strangely compelled to tell him hers, but when he leaves her his pocket watch as a gift, she cannot believe what is happening. Only this isn’t just any watch, as she soon discovers, and she is pulled back in time. Are events coincidental, even random? Or is there a perfectly timed symmetry yet to be lived? The possessor of the Orah is the only one to know.’
And for the tension to work, read it yourself. Only twenty-one pages but that is plenty of time for the goose bumps to rise. James knows this territory well. Grady Harp, November 17
This book is free to borrow from Kindle Unlimited
SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.