This week, Andi and Lise lose their minds in every good way over two novellas by Nghi Vo: “The Empress of Salt and Fortune” and “When the Tiger Came Down the Mountain,” both of which are part of Vo’s “Singing Hills Cycle” series. Fantasy, multilayered, stories within stories, superlative world-building, queer and nonbinary characters, gorgeously told. The two include nonbinary cleric Chih, who is out collecting stories across an empire for archives and embedded in those stories – in the mundane – are much deeper meanings. Talking animals, ghostly elements, exquisite details.
Nghi Vo’s website
Shout-outs: Both Lise and Andi seemed to have shared a brain this session, as both shouted out jigsaw puzzles! That is, the ol’ skool pieces-in-a-box puzzles. Relaxing, working with our hands, watching an image come to life on a table. They bring us calm.