Ka: Dar Oakley in the Ruin of Ymr by John Crowley

Ka: Dar Oakley in the Ruin of Ymr

John Crowley

It’s up to you, as the reader, to decide on which level to accept this fantasy - as a crow’s eye view of vast swathes of human history (in which, understandably, Corvid ingenuity plays a significant role), or as the psycho-fabulous imaginings of the narrator’s mind in terminal condition, with only a bird as companion. Either way, you'll be immersed in an objective oversight of the deep ironies of humanity's obsession with afterlife.


The sun hadn't set yet, hadn't sunk at all, as though it couldn't. In the folds and clefts of the land beneath him, he could see People hidden or trapped, and People-shaped black beasts who were busily tormenting them - it made him think of the Wolves gang and their victims, and of Crows, too, settled on those victims, dagging for flesh and bickering. He kept flying toward the dull sun, and now he perceived large birds coming out of it, a flock, moving toward him.

No, not birds. They were beasts of earth, but with wings stuck onto their backs, which beat rapidly like the wings of Moths. Fat-bellied, with naked tails, mouths full of Wolf-teeth. How did their puny wings carry them? He was amid them, going the way they went, as though they had drawn him in. One cried aloud and pointed below: it had seen prey of some kind, and summoned the others to go down, buffeting Dar Oakley with their wings as they passed him. The smell of them was terrific. And down on the black ground he could see the Brother toiling along alone. The winged beasts - it took Dar Oakley a moment to understand this - had been seeking him.

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