…when she left stepped off her stage, she left in a scintillating dazzle, like a fairy queen stepping off her throne.
All that shine. And at home?
She was a grubby hoarder.
Literary microworlds, such as cyberspace in cyberpunk, abound. But it is quite rare to find one that you haven’t come across before, let alone one that is also well realized. Carpe Glitter offers exactly that, and more, of course.
Persephone’s absolute character of a grandmother has passed away, willing her all the earthly possessions in her home. All she has to do is catalogue it all and then she can sell them. Easy right? Well… the house is actually three interconnected houses. And her grandmother was a hoarder… so it’s packed from corner to cupboard.
It’s, uh, a bit of a task, it turns out.
Over the course of the novella, Persephone undergoes the monumental (seemingly) task of sorting through all of these widely eclectic and, sometimes, kind of disgusting, if I’m honest, knickknacks and oddities, squirreled away who-knows-where.
Throughout, Persephone’s mind drifts from childhood to young adulthood as she moves from room to room, tossing in the memories of her life — revealing that not everything is as it seems.
Sure, there are the ‘normal’ tensions between her mother and grandmother, dynamics, no doubt, some people will be familiar with. And that would have been a perfectly lovely little novella.
I was on board with this sojourn Persephone was embarking on because Cat Rambo masterfully expounds on a hoarder's house, and her assets, into a world of discovery that encapsulates the complexities and feelings for the lives of grandparents surely most people have, or how I feel about mine, anyways. Just to imagine that feelings behind the discovery of those people we truly cannot comprehend when we are young is compelling and vivid.
Shrewdly, Carpe Glitter incorporates this with something that deftly conveys the many, many hoarder house encounters in my previous line of work. There is honestly nothing like it. You never know what people may be hoarding. I’ve been in houses where people hoard meat. Whatever the case, it is always a window into the mind of the occupant that can’t really be compared to anything else. Moreso with the added dimension of it being a loved one.
‘I scoffed. “You’re acting like all of this is real.”
He just looked at me, scorn twisting his lips.
We both knew that it was real.’
To then go further and literalize the fantastical nature of negotiating spaces such as this is simply ingenious.
When casting about for clues about her family's persistent strange nature, Persephone goes down a rabbit hole containing nazi experiments, hidden, magical artifacts, and even such items dripping with the mystique of evocative starlets that only previous eras could really convey in any measurable way.
Mysterious, lustrous, and smart — It is no wonder Carpe Glitter took the recent nebula award.
“A good magician never reveals their tricks.”