The Crystal Fountain and Other Stories by Malachi Whitaker (review by Andrew R. ’17)

The Crystal Fountain & Other StoriesThe Crystal Fountain & Other Stories by Malachi Whitaker
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Sometimes being forgotten is almost an honor in the literary world. It’s an invitation to be rediscovered decades after one’s death, then to enjoy revival as a cult favorite before breaking triumphantly back out into the mainstream market. When I read my first Malachi Whitaker short story, “Landlord of the Crystal Fountain,” I was sure I’d stumbled upon one of these forgotten masters: despite the near-impossibility of finding any of her work, which hasn’t been collected since the mid-1980s, the story’s flowing language (not to mention its intriguing title) indicated that Whitaker’s work deserves much more attention than it’s been given. The Crystal Fountain and Other Stories is one of very few collections by Whitaker that’s still in circulation, so I sought it out and devoured all its stories over the course of a few days, searching for the quality that had made the title story so appealing. What a disappointment to discover that the other stories were nearly indistinguishable in their plots: rural Britain, lonely working-class woman, innocent dreams developed for several pages then suddenly crushed. That’s not to say the stories weren’t enjoyable, but, unlike “Landlord of the Crystal Fountain,” they weren’t quite worth the effort taken to procure them. – Andrew R. ’17

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