The new collection, These Strangers She'd Invited In, from Greying Ghost Press and Jac Jemc has me not only transported to a tiny Russian town, but envisioning Jac's process in creating this world. It is as if she was the fly on the wall of a local Russian bar collecting bits and pieces of the lives swirling around the town. These tiny tales of 14 different Russian characters, with names like Nonna Mordyukova and Anatoly Solonitsyn, are like detailed captions to collection of photos. With each person you meet you get a sense that there is a full life, a full story waiting to be told, and you are looking in on a moment. Yet, through that moment you do get a sense of what makes that person unique.
My favorite character is Lya Lys. We meet her as a young girl with a passion for climbing trees and in one small page see her transform into a strong and desired woman who loves to sail. She is also the only character to appear in someone else's story, and through that we learn a little more about her. This collection is tightly written, well thought out, and beautifully construct by hand. It is available in a hand-numbered edition of 85. The package you receive from Greying Ghost also contains other goodies and surprises. I had heard that the press was very close to selling out of the collection, but it appears that copies are still available as of today.