Escape Artists

News:

News

ATTENTION: NEW FORUM THEME Please see here for details: http://forum.escapeartists.net/index.php?topic=13188.0

Author Topic: PC432: The Beautiful Bird Sits No Longer Singing In The Nest  (Read 2726 times)

Ocicat

  • Castle Watchcat
  • Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 3246
  • Anything for a Weird Life
PodCastle 432: The Beautiful Bird Sits No Longer Singing In The Nest

by Kate Lechler

read by Stephanie Morris


A PodCastle original!

My husband has hired Grace to come each morning, bringing food, medicine, and, as she puts it, “comp’ny.” She isn’t truly a witch—my father taught me that a belief in augury is the sign of an untutored mind—but I loathe her just the same. Each day, she drags the rocking chair from the adjacent room and sits knitting in it, her heavy breathing filling the space. At the end of the day, she scrapes the chair back through the door.

Who knows what trouble I might get up to with unfettered access to a rocking chair?


Click here to continue reading.

Rated R for adult content, disturbing imagery.



Kate Lechler teaches British Literature at the University of Mississippi and writes science-fiction and fantasy from her home in in Oxford, MS, where she lives with her husband, a dog, a cat, and seven fish. Her work has been previously published in the NonBinary Review, Dear Robot: An Anthology of Epistolary Science Fiction, and Illumen, and she reviews fantasy and science fiction for FantasyLiterature.com. She loves gardening, singing jazz, and watching bad (and good!) TV. You can find her online at blogspot and on Twitter @katelechler.



Stephanie Morris is a professional fangirl by day and the lone library assistant staffing a college circulation desk at night. She has narrated short stories for PseudoPod, PodCastle, EscapePod, Cast of Wonders, and StarShipSofa, guest-blogged on subjects ranging from book recommendations to zombie turkeys, and performed Shakespeare in a handful of weird churches. Until she suppresses her inner perfectionist enough to create a website, you can find her on Twitter at @smaliamorris.

Listen to this week’s PodCastle!



Tango Alpha Delta

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 1778
    • Tad's Happy Funtime
Reply #1 on: September 08, 2016, 02:16:17 AM
This one presented a lot of tough interpretive challenges. It kept me guessing whether I could ever really trust the narrator - especially when she bit her brother- and that made it tough to judge how much of what was going on was in her head.

I found it very uncomfortable trying to figure out how much of her loss of agency was actually down to madness, and how much was inflicted on her.

Having never read Jane Eyre, I may have to give this one another listen.

Update: Just to be clear, I *liked* the story - because it was challenging.
« Last Edit: September 09, 2016, 02:13:50 AM by Tango Alpha Delta »

This Wiki Won't Wrangle Itself!

I finally published my book - Tad's Happy Funtime is on Amazon!


Frank Evans

  • Lochage
  • *****
  • Posts: 419
    • All of Algonquin
Reply #2 on: September 08, 2016, 01:01:35 PM
This one didn't work for me, which is more about my personal taste than it is a comment on the story itself. I am not a huge fan of the language and style the author used, although I think that both of these things fit with this type of story. Unfortunately I kept getting distracted by my dislike of the MC's voice (in the story sense, not a comment on the narrator, who was excellent) which made it hard to really get into the narrative. This was problematic for me, especially since what exactly is going on in the narrative itself isn't clear cut. 

 




ElectricPaladin

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 1005
  • Holy Robot
    • Burning Zeppelin Experience
Reply #3 on: September 09, 2016, 04:55:30 AM
This one was really hard to listen to. A first-person view of someone sinking into madness - but more "realistically portrayed mental illness" than "bwahahaha now I am mad"? Harsh. That said, it was brilliant and hard-hitting and I loved it. But after it was done, I needed a hug.

Captain of the Burning Zeppelin Experience.

Help my kids get the educational supplies they need at my Donor's Choose page.


hwaffle

  • Lochage
  • *****
  • Posts: 424
    • Find me online
Reply #4 on: September 10, 2016, 05:15:51 PM
Such luscious writing :) I enjoyed the feel and sound of this one. The voice felt very Atwood-ian to me. The concept was one that I've seen before (Jane Eyre from the perspective of Bertha Mason has been done a lot).



bounceswoosh

  • Matross
  • ****
  • Posts: 305
Reply #5 on: September 14, 2016, 01:37:49 AM
I loved it. I also found it challenging, definitely in a fun, good way, to try to decipher reality. Was her mother actually a witch? Was she? Was she going crazy, or just being a human being with opinions of her own? Both? Was the revealed witch actually a witch? Did she leave, or did she die? ("She's ... gone" could mean death.) I could far too easily imagine being seen as damaged in another age for being too strong-willed or having a libido. (For her husband! The horror!) At least she didn't (I gather) have a cliterodectomy, which yes, is a real thing and was a treatment even in the US for female hysteria or whatever.



Unblinking

  • Sir Postsalot
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 8657
    • Diabolical Plots
Reply #6 on: September 14, 2016, 02:07:07 PM
This was a brilliant example of an unreliable narrator.  It kept me guessing to the end whether there was any magical element at all or if that was just a figment of her mental condition.  I came down on the side of thinking that it was a figment, but it was very well told on either side.

Like ElectricPaladin, I'm not sure I can say I really... enjoyed it... exactly, because it was dark and felt very true.  But I think it was very good and I would recommend it to someone to listen to, but probably not if they'd said they were having a bad day.

Definitely particularly love this line:
Quote
Who knows what trouble I might get up to with unfettered access to a rocking chair?

I never comment on the narrator as often as I really should, since the narrator is such a BIG part of audio fiction.  But I thought this one was one of those especially good narrations that enhances the story beyond what just reading the text alone would do.  Well done!



Tanamoril

  • Extern
  • *
  • Posts: 1
Reply #7 on: September 21, 2016, 04:42:11 AM
I was so startled to hear a description of trichotillomania (hair-pulling) as the opening to this story. It is a condition that almost never gets discussed in any kind of fiction I have encountered, and one that I have struggled with since early adolescence.  Aside from any other aspect of the story, I found myself suddenly, desperately hoping for a happy ending, even while knowing the kind of fate Mrs. Rochester was certainly headed towards.  This was a little distracting, but that's something that would only bother me, I guess.

The story certainly packs its punch well.  I loved the historical details, the reality of Bertha's situation as a mentally-ill woman, as a sexualized minority in the white, alien landscape of England.  They all make this a rich and biting tale.  This kind of tale - where the author gives a voice to the voiceless, oppressed, tragic background characters of a well-known story - is an important reaction to the stories that we consider to be classics.  It's an exercise in perspective that never seems to run dry as a genre.

I still found myself hoping for some sort of redemption or break in the tragic inevitability of Bertha's story.  We all know the way her story ends, but why couldn't she escape or get revenge or run away with Jane just this once?
Solution: write my own madwoman-in-the-attic narrative.



hwaffle

  • Lochage
  • *****
  • Posts: 424
    • Find me online
Reply #8 on: September 21, 2016, 06:56:26 PM

I still found myself hoping for some sort of redemption or break in the tragic inevitability of Bertha's story.  We all know the way her story ends, but why couldn't she escape or get revenge or run away with Jane just this once?
Solution: write my own madwoman-in-the-attic narrative.

I hear you. I think this is why I felt it was a story I'd heard before. That's not a bad thing, but I did have this same emotion.



NoMeDigas

  • Extern
  • *
  • Posts: 6
Reply #9 on: September 23, 2016, 12:06:41 PM
We all know the way her story ends, but why couldn't she escape or get revenge or run away with Jane just this once?
Solution: write my own madwoman-in-the-attic narrative.

Tanamoril, I will read your "Bertha runs away with Jane" story FOR SURE (romantic pairing or just "let's get the **** out of here!) As a bonus - Rochester and Saint John as a seriously unhappy couple.



hwaffle

  • Lochage
  • *****
  • Posts: 424
    • Find me online
Reply #10 on: September 23, 2016, 05:01:01 PM
As a bonus - Rochester and Saint John as a seriously unhappy couple.

OMG sign me up.



Tango Alpha Delta

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 1778
    • Tad's Happy Funtime
Reply #11 on: October 07, 2016, 12:59:54 AM
I was so startled to hear a description of trichotillomania (hair-pulling) as the opening to this story. It is a condition that almost never gets discussed in any kind of fiction I have encountered, and one that I have struggled with since early adolescence. 


As soon as I heard that, I was picturing The Bloggess, because she has written about having that condition. (It gets mentioned down in the comments of that post I just linked to.)

That made this more of a visual story for me...

This Wiki Won't Wrangle Itself!

I finally published my book - Tad's Happy Funtime is on Amazon!


Devoted135

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 1252
Reply #12 on: October 15, 2016, 01:43:46 AM
Oh man, this was tough in the best way possible. I kept flipping back and forth whether I believed the narrator was sane or truly mad, even after learning her heart-wrenching backstory. So many layers! Certainly she wasn't mad as a girl, but did she hallucinate her brother? Did he really visit her? I did finally figure out the Jane Eyre angle (I dislike that book...) but that's not conclusive evidence...  :o