I know I’ve fallen in love with characters in a few of the books I’ve read over the years. But then the story’s over and I move on to my next crush. It’s not so in “The Green Book” by Amal El-Mohtar.

The piece starts out with a description of a book, perhaps part of an inventory. But after that brief introduction, the remainder is a letter copying what the writer found in The Green Book. The writer, Dominic, is an apprentice to Leuwin who has a library and spends his time collecting and learning. The Green Book is given to him because it is so special, so unusual.

Dominic transcribes the writing in the book, writing done by four people throughout the years, although the two at the heart of the story are Leuwin and Cynthia. Cynthia is trapped in the book, a living death she can never escape. Leuwin falls in love with her, and is desperate to release her.

The world these event stake place in is hinted at, but in such a short piece can’t be fully explored. A vicious monarch is hinted at and a Sisterhood that seems threatening, knowledgeable and powerful. In the end I wish it was longer. I was caught up in its spell. The writing is expressive and haunting.

“The Green Book” is one of the short stories nominated for the 2010 Nebula Award. You can read it on-line at Apex magazine.

2,649 words

Apex Magazine, November 1, 2010

5 out of 5 stars

John hosts Short Story Monday at The Book Mine Set. Head over there to see what he and others have been reading.

I read “The Green Book” on-line and the above is my honest opinion..


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