My story recommendation this week is "The Wedding Gift" by Jacqueline West, from the June 2009 issue of Ideomancer.
I loves me a good ghost story, and for me the key is a light touch by the storyteller. "The Wedding Gift" is a ghost story, but Jacqueline West tells it with great subtlety. The tale builds tension quickly, even though no supernatural element ever appears but for some strangely behaving birds. Equally subtle is the characterization, delicately hinting that our protagonist Drina's relationships with her cold fiancé and her well-meaning but domineering grandmother have left her vulnerable to the visitation that occurs.
Jacqueline West has published over three dozen poems, including two Puschcart Prize nominees, but only six pieces of short fiction to date; here's hoping there is much more to come from her. Ideomancer has been around since 2002, publishing such excellent authors as Christopher Barzak, Samantha Henderson, Ted Kosmatka, Yoon Ha Lee, Sarah Monette, Ruth Nestvold, M. Rickert, Rachel Swirsky, and Greg van Eekhout. Leah Bobet is editor and has taken the reins as publisher this year, by all indications without missing a beat.
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