Adrienne Martini, Baltimore City Paper (May 30)
Michael Bishop, Atlanta Journal-Constitution (May 20)
“Pallas at Noon”, by Joy Marchand is a lovely, lyrical story that appears to owe much to the long tradition of domestic women’s science fiction - the “housewife heroine” story, though there are no aliens or apocalyptic scenarios here, just a woman struggling to deal with the life her husband has built for her, at the expense of her own creativity.
Overall, a common thread throughout many of the stories within Interfictions is a historical approach to stories - though not necessarily our history, or any history of this world. Another common thread is the presentation of the “real world” as if it were a magical world, without any specific genre markers to do so. The highlights for me were the stories by Marchand, Allen, Greenland, [Phillips] and particularly those by What and Schanoes.
Joy Marchand's "Pallas at Noon"—one of the more realistic stories in the collection—is a prose poem to domestic discontent, and dreams crushed by time and circumstances. Chloe, a writer, has not been able to write and has developed both a stutter and an intense fear of people. Sadly her condition is aided by her well-meaning but co-dependent husband who, while trying to persuade her to write, manages to encourage her psychosomatic maladies. Chloe continues to retreat further and further into herself, hiding her body under layers of oversized clothes. Marchand relates Chloe's plight to that of Pallas, an ambiguous figure in Greek mythology who is sometimes male and sometimes female. "Pallas at Noon" is a lyrical story with roots in epic poetry about a woman existing in the area between artist and wife.
This is what I was hoping for when I cracked this book. A story where I don’t have to talk about whether it’s interstitial or not because it doesn’t matter. This story transcends genre, rises above it—rather than trying to talk at genre, or batter itself against genre’s walls until one or the other falls down. “Pallas at Noon” has beauty, soul, and meaning, the virtuosity of Kelly Link without the glassy, unassailable precision. There are risks taken here, and sacrifices, and my heart came close to being actually wrenched. This is a story about failed love and creativity and the struggle between. It turns on a stanza of poetry that appears halfway through, breaks itself by the end, and only gives you half the satisfaction you’re expecting, yet everything you need. There is a cautionary tale here for the plight of the artist in the interstice–and here, in this one case, I think I’m willing to extend that classification to everyone who ever reads this blog. Yes, you. Artist, writer, creator of whatever chameleon color, liver in the world, whoever you are: I’m telling you to read “Pallas at Noon”.