ed. by Sheree Renee Thomas, Pan Morigan and Troy L. Wiggins

Third Man Books LLC
2019, 448 pages, $17.95

ISBN 978-1-7348422-7-2

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The TROUBLE THE WATERS anthology is diversity in action, centering on those mystical and inspiring/despairing acts of … well, water. That includes seas, oceans, rivers, tributaries, creeks and assorted waterways.

I loved these from this collection of 29 stories and three poems:

·      Primordial Water Beings recapture what was once theirs in “Water Being” by Pan Morigan.

·      Delilah, an infamous club singer, is a demon from the waters in “Love Hangover” by Sheree Renee Thomas.

·      “Salt Baby” by Nanna Arnadottir. Fishwife and Fisherman raise a baby girl from the sand that comes to maturity as Saltwoman. What kind of life will Saltwoman lead? And what happens to the husband and wife in a catastrophe?

·      In my favorite story of the collection, “Deep Like the Rivers” by Christopher Caldwell, Ma’sonv — whose real name is Isaiah Baptiste Daubert — would really prefer to be a mermaid. The oceans are one, Ma’son tells Ma, and connected. But Ma can be a real tyrant of a mother and reacts harshly to Isaiah’s wishes. Can a mother and son’s love for each other ever be reconciled? Will she allow her son to lead the life he has always dreamed of?

·      In the midst of the Vietnam War, Rabbit Grace tells his fellow soldiers about the existence of a Water Woman, or Woe. Grace hopes to catch a Woe and to stay alive to return home in “Spirits Don’t Cross Over Water ‘Til They Do” by Jamey Hatley.

·      “Lilies and Claus” by Kate Heartfield. In Bruges, in the year 1302, Margriet is trying to understand the truth. Not all is as it seems in the battle. The hated French King is imposing a horrible tax and other prosecutions on the families of a town. What is their fate? Will a canal demon known as the Nix hinder, kill or help Margriet to know what is to be expected and what is true?

·      “All of Us are She” by Jasmine Wade. Nana is trying to tell her granddaughter the ways of death and reproduction in the family. But it happens in a way similar to her ancestors, despite the history of their slave upbringings.

·      “The Stone” by Naila Moreira. A boy who becomes a talented cellist discovers a strange stone on the shoreline, one that could bring him even greater talent.

·      “Ghosts” by Jaquira Diaz. Two Marines are caught up in an unending jungle war, where human life is lost daily, including a woman who is severely injured while pregnant and delivers a stillborn baby boy. No one wants to claim the mother’s or the boy’s bodies in the village, and thus the jungle takes the woman as a ghost. For the female and male soldiers, life in jungle warfare forces them to find solace however they can.