This story was published by Clockwork Phoenix 5 and Mythic Delirium. It ended up with five recommendations on the Nebula Recommended Reading List. Note: This review contains spoilers.

Malka is a Jewish girl who sits on the steps to hear a Baptist gospel choir rehearse. She meets David there, a dead African American boy who also lives in the neighborhood. Malka wants to invite David to a Sabbath meal on Friday night, so she asks her father Abe to help prepare it. Abe is non-practicing and at first he objects, but finally he relents and starts the preparations. The sticking point is the wine, as Prohibition has recently gone into effect. On a quest for kosher wine, he talks to friends in the park and a local rabbi without results. David says his father Sam can supply it, so Abe goes to his store where Sam agrees to supply the wine. Abe invites him to the meal, as well. On Friday evening, Sam arrives at the apartment with the wine. The two men drink together and trade stories about how their children were murdered. “Does she know?” asks Sam.

On the pro side, the story provides an excellent glimpse of Jewish life and concerns during the 1920s. Strong characters, good plot. There are background conversations about unions, religion, black-market business, socialism and racial tensions as Abe works through his quest for the wine. It has a big emotional impact as the two fathers talk about their lost children. This is also an inclusive story in an age where African Americans and Jews have recently been at political odds.

On the con side, this is still another story about abused children. That makes five with this theme so far that I’ve reviewed among Nebula contenders. Slightly clunky prose.

Three and a half stars.

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