A Thousand Beginnings and Endings
Edited By: Ellen Oh and Elsie Chapman
Ghosts, star-crossed lovers, tragedy, more ghosts, shape-shifters, dances and sisters among other things… A Thousand Beginnings and Endings is an anthology of Asian myths and legends that released at the end of June.
It’s a beautifully written and entertaining collection of stories and if you aren’t familiar with the myths or want to know more about them there’s a page or two of information by the author at the end of each story which I was so grateful to read!
The beginning stories were very beautifully written and catching. There was something about them that pulled you in. I didn’t love all the stories in this collection but at worst it was just like shoulders shrugged still enjoyed the information and the work that went into them.
A few stories standout because I immediately thought- I would like to read more mainly: Olivia’s Table by Alyssa Wong which is based on a Chinese tale and is about a Hungry Ghost Festival. Still Star-Crossed by Sona Charaipotra which is a Punjabi tale and a love story of sorts that I don’t want to say too much about but reading it I couldn’t help think of all the directions you could (and in some cases creepy directions.)
I also loved The Counting of the Vermillion Beads by Aliette de Bodard about sisters and The Smile by Aisha Saeed- all stories that I would have liked to read in longer formats.
Spear Carrier by Rahul Kanakia is taken from the Mahabharata a South Asian epic. This was a weird story because it was the first one where I felt like it was out of place in terms of the writing but at the same time asked really interesting questions about heroism and how people and cultures define it.
Like what if Frodo had failed or Luke didn’t defeat the Empire? Would they still be heroes?
Probably not right? History is written by the winners as they say. I mean I’m sure his friends would think like nice try Frodo before they were crushed and enslaved for generations but it definitely wouldn’t have turned out the same way.
I wound up really enjoying Spear Carrier or at least thinking about it quiet a bit.
So overall A Thousand Beginnings and Endings is a great collection. It was beautifully written, entertaining, left me wanting more and bonus points for all the new information that I learned!