Michael Libling. Why that Crazy Old Lady goes up the Mountain. (F&SF May/June 2010)

An opening story with an audacious conceit bang slap in the middle of it (big spoiler coming…) A young boy is a keeper of a family secret, a secret place near the cliffs, a place where it’s possible to commune with the dead. The family know about it through being on the scene when someone came crashing down to Earth – someone no less than God himself.

With The Big Guy Upstairs quite definitely not upstairs any more, and quite palpably buried by them, everything has changed, and they are in effect custodians of those who now pass on, whose lives they are able to engage with.

The young man introduces a girl new to the neighbourhood, struggling with her own personal life issues, to the secret, and in doing so fulfils his own destiny.

It’s an unsettling story that lodges itself in the mind.

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