REVIEWS SHORT FICTION:
“How She Rathered” (published in Nanofiction)
Review by New Pages
“Miah Arnold presents us with a bone rattling story about a woman who starts collecting teeth in “How She Rathered.” She steals these teeth from under countless pillows, filling a sack in less than one hour. Finally, “At home, when she emptied its contents into her tub, they nearly filled it. Without the salivic gleam of their usual context the teeth looked like kernels of bathtub.” She fills the bathtub and lays down in the teeth, submerging herself in them. Finally, she swishes the “loose teeth between her own teeth.” You have to read the story to discover the end, but I could not help but be haunted by the woman who swims in loose teeth as a way she discovered “to be something less upsetting than a woman.”
“Snap by Miah Arnold is a plainspoken, magical realist piece set in a domestic setting. Told in the first
person, the scene is set with the narrator sitting in the office of “the tailor,” which is reminiscent of a dentist’s office. She has made the appointment with the tailor because her soul has turned black, and the tailor’s profession is to go inside and clean it out. Two assistants turn into a purple, slimy essence and jump into the narrator’s body, then force her out and blow her skin up like a blimp, so that the tailor can fit inside comfortably to get his job done. Once out, the narrator slides into a temporary body for the remainder of the procedure. With only his legs sticking out of the narrator’s body, he questions her about decisions she has made, actions she has taken, and thoughts she has thought but not said – all of this he can see from inside. The story ends with the tailor finishing the cleaning and the narrator
jumping back into her own body, at which time the tailor instructs her to take a shower before she leaves and make a follow up appointment with the secretary on her way out.
I tend to be a fan of the strange and off-kilter, and Miah Arnold’s story is just that. Her voice is that of a
contemporary, female Poe. Her images are exquisite and extremely vivid: “…the tailor, hooking his fingers into my nostrils and pulling me to a fast ninety degree position.” And her descriptive details almost made me wet my pants. One of my favorite lines in the piece is, “The tailor reminds me of a demonic chicken.” Miah Arnold’s dark humor and tendency towards the oddball state of mind make her someone I definitely plan to look for in the future.