“A Drop of Raspberry”
translated from the Hungarian by Noémi Szelényi
This is a style of story I was expecting to make its way into the Interstitial fold (as discussed in the “— House” thread): the inanimate narrator story, ie one which uses an anthropomorphic personification as its main character. I think the proliferation of this style may be an offshoot of the recent “deity as main character in modern setting” trend, following Gaiman, which now is pretty much played out. Most often such stories deal in one way or another with the theme of the human condition evaluated from distance, “I am not what they are, thus I understand better than they do how great and terrible they have it.” The successful inanimate-narrator tales I’ve seen treat with this same theme, but without having to concern themselves with addressing the monstrous, limelight-stealing subjects of myth and belief. Unless they want to. Actually, in that respect, I might almost call it a magic realist tactic.
In “A Drop of Raspberry”, a semi-sentient lake saves a grieving man from suicide by drowning. They strike up a friendship, which wobbles precariously on the edge of forbidden romance and ends bittersweet. Ms. Kleinheincz gives us a real, accessible notion of what it feels like to be a lake, using weird bits of synesthesia to convey that sense of difference, of alienness, but not getting so wrapped up in it as to deprive us of emotional attachment to what is at its heart a subtle, poignant tragedy of star-crossed lovers. The notion of the interstitial comes into play here in the space between humanity and… lakeness. The lake can cross over for awhile, inhabit a human body, comprehend the human perspective, or attempt to, but when winter rolls around, she’s going to freeze again. It works almost as a microcosmic, humanist retelling of the life of Christ.
I suspect there is something in the Hungarian title that gets lost in the translation—something about raspberries being both tart and sweet, like our own metaphor about lemons and lemonade. Of course I do not read Hungarian.