Clay Tongue was all too short for this reader. It is described as a short fantasy about the unspoken love between a shy little girl and her grandfather, the secrets of human communication, and discovered bravery.
Katie Mirowitz lives in a household with her parents and her grandfather. She is so shy and afraid to speak she can’t even tell her mother that she loves her, but her grandfather is her lodestone, the one person with whom she can talk. When he has a stroke leaving him with aphasia, the inability to speak anything other than gibberish, they still communicate – she can interpret his facial expressions and meaningless words.
Her anxieties come to a crescendo when she overhears her mother telling the grandfather she is not sure how long they can continue to care for him because of the family’s finances. When Katie finds her grandfather with an old journal, which he doesn’t want her to see, she just has to read what is inside. She sneaks downstairs at night to read it and with it, finds an ancient key. The journal contains a story, written by her grandfather many years earlier, of a mythical being – a golem – who can grant wishes. Screwing her courage to the wall, she goes in search of the golem.
How Katie finds the golem and what happens when he asks her for her wish is sweet and heart-warming. The story line is predictable, but the writing is superlative and the author creates a read-out loud story for both children and adults with truths about love and selflessness. The characters, especially the grandfather, colorfully and realistically drawn and stayed with this reader long after the end of the story.
I highly recommend Clay Tongue, five stars.
About the author (from Amazon)
Nicholas Conley is a novelist, world traveler, playwright, and coffee vigilante. His passion for storytelling is evident in Clay Tongue as well a Pale Highway, the winner of the 2015 Predators & Editors Award for Best Science Fiction & Fantasy Novel. He has written for Vox, Truthout, The Huffington Post, SFFWorld, and Alzheimers.net, and his original radio play Something in the Nothing was performed live on the radio station WSCA 106.1 FM in 2016. He is a member of PEN America, the writers organization dedicated to human rights and freedom of expression.
You can find Nicholas Conley
On twitter: @NcholasConley1
And at: www.nicholasconley.com