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{April 8, 2012}   {Review} The Dust Finders by Jared Gullage

From Goodreads: “We carry many things into the desert. We carry our entire lives on the back of our k’toogs. We are the people who wander the wasteland, to rally the ek’luka behind our caravans, so we might harvest and slaughter them to eat them and make of their bodies needful things.

The ek’luka are ugly and treacherous. We give them the remnants of our tribe, the garbage left in our wake, so they will follow us. They will eat anything they can. They are scavengers.

One has eaten my son’s hand. Its unforgiving beak crippled him forever in one bite. I was not fast enough to stop it. I do not know how I will ask him to forgive me for it when he is older.

We carry many things into the desert. We carry tents and tent poles. We carry food and water. We carry weapons and tools. I carry my guilt with me. I cannot toss this away and forget it like the garbage of our tribe. I will carry it with me forever.”

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This is a very intriguing story about one family in a group of nomads, traveling the desert in search of things they can take back to the cities and sell/trade.  A very laid back people, the narrator discusses his thoughts and daily routines as this short novelette unfolds.  While one may read the synopsis and wonder what the story is truly going to be about, the truth is, the synopsis is dead on.  Our narrator describes life as it happens for him and his tribe, focusing a great deal on the “onesides,” those who have only one hand due to getting too close to an ek’luka.  The narrator is obsessed with the fact that his son in a oneside, blaming himself for not reacting quickly enough, and for the fact that the ek’luka took his son’s good hand, leaving behind the filthy left one. 

As the story unfolds and the narrator and his tribe meet another group, happening upon a deceased dragon, the story takes on a bewildering, fantastical feel to it as the narrator begins to relate the odd happenings around him.  It’s quite an interesting story, especially the ending as it all comes into focus for the reader and s/he begins to understand exactly what happened, though for a short time I, personally, found the novelette to be a bit confusing because the narrator becomes unreliable, in a way.  I can’t say much more than that without giving away the twists of the novel, but it’s definitely worth the read, especially for those interesting in amazing world building and mystical situations. 

I would classify this as an adult novelette, mainly due to the perplexity of the situations within the story, but also due to some minor sexual references.  Try it.  Three stars. 

I obtained an eBook copy of this novel from Amazon when it was listed as free.



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