Guest Review by Melanie
Buy Link: Lily
Author: Xavier Axelson
Publisher: Silver Publishing
Length: Short Story

Rating: 4.5 stars

It’s Father’s Day and two men are waiting for a little girl to appear. They are waiting for Lily, Prior’s beloved daughter, who had been lost a year ago, dragged off into the woods by a wolf. In the time since, Pryor, consumed with his loss, has retreated to his cabin, his days numbed by his grief. Only the love and support of his partner Ned and a plan to reclaim his daughter has kept him sane. And now the time has come to see if she will return to him, if only for a day.

What a marvelous short story Lily is. Lyrical in language and strong in its empathy for a parent’s pain, it has a singular voice in Pryor. Pryor still believes “being Lily’s father is the most important thing in this world.” And you feel that hole in his life so acutely as he describes her just before she is ripped from him, her hair all “wild and white-blonde.”

Pryor’s voice and his descriptions provide a wealth of clues and information about his past. He hears voices, whether is the derogatory words of his dead mother, or whispers from the woods. He sees his lover’s beard as his “summer fur,” and stares into the moonlight woods searching for signs of his daughter. All three characters here are beautifully realized, one heartbroken, one steady, and one filled with wildness and innocence. I love how Pryor slowly feeds us bits of information until we can finally spin together the fibers that make up the tapestry that is this family and its tragedy.

There is such a distinctive style to this story, as the mundane is juxtaposed with the magical. Like silk against the skin, this story glides over into your memory. I loved this and hope you will feel the same.