“A Mother’s Love” - The Lead Story from In Fields of Butterfly Flames by Steve Wade -2020
This is the sixth short story by Steve Wade that has been featured on The Reading Life. I first read his work during Irish Short Story Month Year Three in March of 2013. I found his short story “The Land of the Ever Young” fully qualified to stand with the great occult fairy tales of Sheridan Le Fanu or Andrew Lang.
“The Land of the Ever Young" recreates and helps us understand the stories of fairies stealing human children and substituting changelings for them. Part of the root of these stories comes from the famine years where people had to find ways to deal with the starvation of their children. On another darker side, this story also treats of the fact that one more hungry child could be the tipping point in a family on the edge of starvation that can send everyone else into the grave.
First and foremost 'The Land of the Ever Young" is a tremendous lot of fun to read. Joseph Sheridan le Fanu or Andrew L)ang have no better stories than this. I will tell enough of the plot to give you a feel for it but I want you to read this story without knowing too much about it.
The other stories covered show the extent and depth of Wade’s range. (Some of the stories can be read online at links found in my posts)
Today’s story way more than justifies my belief in the immense talent of Steve Wade.
“A Mother’s Love” is the lead story in Wade’s debut collection In Fields of Butterfly Flames and Other Stories. There are 21 other stories in the collection. Over the next few months I will be posting on a number of them.
In “A Mothers Love” you are taken almost dragged into the mind set prevailing in a horrible family seen through the eyes of a wife and mother terribly out of touch with reality, trying to rationalize why her husband prefers sex with his daughter (who seems just entering early adolescence) to her. She is in thrall to a religious ideology that cripples her thinking. As I read on in this story you see the real face of evil. Perhaps you might initially have some sympathy for her but this will not endure. I will share a bit of Wade’s amazing prose to allow you to experience the dark feel of “A Mother’s Love”:
“Now working hand in hand with the Devil, the two conspired to draw in others for the sake of Mammon. Like swarms of flies they arrived, buzzing through my home, to gorge themselveson her oozing, naked flesh. Each evening, when the last of the swarm left, slaked and bloated, the pair of them unashamedly counted out their filthy lucre on the kitchen table. Theythen celebrated,the only way they knew how, atop the tableamong the pestilence-stricken notes and coins. You would have imagined that even the Devil must sometimes tire of excessive indulgence in fetid fornication.”
From the publisher
About the Author - Steve Wade’s award-winning short fiction has been widely published in literary magazines and anthologies. His work has been broadcast on national and regional radio. He has had stories short-listed for the Francis McManus Short Story Competitionand for the Hennessy Award. His stories have appeared in over fifty print publications, including Crannog, New Fables, and Aesthetica Creative Works Annual. His unpublished novel, On Hikers’ Hill was awarded First Prize in the abook2read.com competition, with Sir Tim Rice as the top judge. He has won First Prize in the Delvin Garradrimna Short Story Competition on a number of occasions. Winner of the Short Story category in the Write by the Sea writing competition 2019. His
short stories have been nominated for the PEN/O’Henry Award, and for the Pushcart Prize.
From the Author’s introduction
“The stories in this collection first appeared in anthologies and periodicals. Some of them have won prizes or have been placed in writing competitions. Ostracised by betrayal, isolated through indifference, gutted with guilt, or suffering from loss, the characters in these twenty-two stories are fractured and broken, some irreparably. In their struggle for acceptance, and their desperate search for meaning, they deny the past”
A very worthy edition to the reading list of all lovers of the short story.