5 Stars for Benjamin Rosenbaum’s “A Siege of Cranes”

Reviewed by Stephen Cashmore
What a tremendous story! I started to read A Siege of Cranes when I had a few minutes to spare, intending to stop half way (it’s quite a long story, at thirty-eight pages); but I found myself having to read to the end, and then having to run to get to a meeting on time.

It’s quite hard to categorise, but it has a timeless, myth-like feel to it; it feels like a mixture of African, Egyptian and Arabian storytelling, with maybe a bit of English fairytale thrown in. There is no way to predict what’s going to happen from page to page: I particularly liked the fact that there were no unnecessary loose ends – if Rosenbaum mentioned something, then sure as eggs are eggs it had some relevance to the later parts of the story.

I had only two minor quibbles. I thought the speech patterns of the main character improved dramatically after a few pages; and I would have made more of the dramatic unmasking that takes place towards the end. But these are minor quibbles only.

I heartily recommend A Siege of Cranes, pretty much whatever sort of anthology you are building – except possibly if it is for children, as some of the themes require a strong stomach and in any case it is probably too complex for children.

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