Short Stories 366:75 — “A Deeper Echo,” by David Jón Fuller

coverRaising the spectre not only of war and PTSD but of the abhorrent residential school history of Canada, “A Deeper Echo” takes us to Winnipeg, Canada in 1919. This time, the speculative element is at the forefront of the story, in the form of Thomas Greyeyes, Ojibwe veteran and father in search of his children, who were taken from the residential school. Thomas begins the story as a wolf, transforming back to a man once he arrives in the city and begins his search for the women who took his son and daughter. Long Hidden: Speculative Fiction from the Margins of History delivers yet again.

What unfolds is such a slice of Canada’s wretched history—pre-unionization, racist, violent, the wealthy in control and believing themselves above reproach—spun through that lens of Thomas Greyeyes and his desire to reunite with his children. What Fuller does so well here is grounding Greyeyes in his reality as a man in pain, a man with loss, and a man with a goal, and the obstacles he faces? Well, it’s possible I was gritting my teeth many times throughout the story at the casual dismissal (or outright abuse) of the man, and wishing he’d just tear everyone limb from limb.

The strength of Long Hidden is always in how the authors take these real moments of history (often terrible moments of history, to be clear) and then spin speculative fiction to spin a story that brings power to a voice we almost never get to hear in the histories that are commonly told. Fuller’s is a perfect example of this, and all the more viscerally enjoyable as a result, as well as having enough hope in its conclusion to let me unclench my jaw and exhale with relief at the possibilities.

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