Hugo Nomination Review: Selkie Stories are for Losers by Sofie Samatar
I clearly don't get it. That is all I can really say about "Selkie Stories are for Losers". Perhaps if I read or knew anything about Selkie stories I would be a bit more connected to this, and I know I'm not the target audiance but even with that I usually feel a bit more connected to stories, especially stories that are nominated for major awards.
The basic idea of this story is taht of a woman who's mother has left. She is, evidentally, a selkie, or a seal who sheds their skin to come on land. The skin is stolen and she can't return to the sea until she finds it. She then returns without remorse. I suspect that in this story it is a metaphor for abandonment and perhaps it always is. The story is told through a series of very short sections that tell some minor event as the main character becomes friends with another girl who has a suicidal mother.
I can certanly see the quality of this story and I suspect if you were abandoned, or had a rough relationship with your parents this would hit a lot harder. I suspect even been femail and most certainly a teenage girl this would stlike harder as well and I understand the need to write to a specific audiance and I'm certainly not always that audiance, but, the best fiction, to me is the type that can write to an audiance but also give insite into a world that you're not typically part of. This is close to that, but perhaps for me the distance was just too great.
Perhaps the biggest problem i had with this story was that for much of it I was trying to understand what a Selkie story was. I certainly got hints but I actually ended up looking it up. That isn't to say that it isn't explained at least in part in the story, but until I looked it up I wasn't really certain I understood. But this is very easily solved by the reader if you don't already know.
I can't give a real recomendation for Selkie Stories are for Losers. I can only say that it wasn't written for me and I clearly don't get it. I understand the basic idea, the tone and even the characters, but I feel very little more connection to them than i did at the beginning. But it came close and obviously other people do get it and if you're even a bit closer to the target audiance I suspect you will as well.