FeatherPenClipArtThis novella was published by Tor.com. It’s fantasy.

Salman and his family live in a trailer park in Florida. His grandfather tells him a story about his own childhood in Lahore, where a pauper princess had a tea shop under a eucalyptus tree that she said held a jinn that protected her family. Years later, Salman is working as a college professor when his grandfather dies. He flies to Florida for the funeral. Helping his parents clean out Gramps’ room, he finds learned textbooks and finally a journal. His grandfather has been researching theories of creation and has left a strange story in the journal. Infected by a need to understand, Salman flies to Lahore to search for his grandfather’s past.

I started off complaining about this one being another of the sentimental stories that gets by on the emotion they generate, but I can’t pick this one apart. Not only are we absorbed by the characters, but we get to meet the jinn and have a look at earth, water, wind and fire. Malik is an excellent writer. The prose flows well, full of imagery that lets us get to know Gramps, smell the rain and see the flashing colors of the Lahore marketplace. Drawbacks: Slight loss of purpose and clarity at the end. High diversity. I’ll give it a 4.5. Recommended.

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