Another Peek Inside Tales for Canterbury: “The Daughter of the Khan” by Mary Victoria
Carrying on with the “peek inside”the Tales for Canterbury anthology, this time looking at Mary Victoria’s The Daughter of the Khan, which is another fascinating, magic realism story from the “Hope” section. I also liked the cultural perspective Mary drew on for the story, just a little outside the mainstream of western SFF:
The Daughter of the Khan
by Mary Victoria
Habiba did not wish to be married.
Her prospective mother-in-law had paid a visit to the Ordubad house
the month before, accompanied by the groom’s aunt, both thin, severelooking
women with large noses. Habiba had been so dismayed by the
aunt in particular that she had found herself incapable of retaining the
woman’s name. Darya? Dilya? She had asked her own mother three times
to remind her of it. Her giddiness had been interpreted by the family as a
bride’s typical excitement, but in private, her mother had warned her to
be more circumspect.
“Bibi, my heart,” she said to Habiba, heaving a sigh, on the third
occasion the aunt’s name was requested, “make an effort. If you don’t
get on with your in-laws, you’ll find marriage a chore.”
Habiba balked at the idea of matrimony altogether, with or without
a forbidding aunt. But that state of bliss, it seemed, had no regard for
her preferences. Her future father-in-law’s visit had succeeded that of the
groom’s female relatives; dowry negotiations had begun then, in earnest,
on the men’s side of the house. Habiba’s only part in that process had been
to maintain a decorous and obedient silence when her own father asked
for her consent. Then the matchmakers had come, and the betrothal
had been symbolically rejected and symbolically renewed, signifying how
difficult it was for her parents to let her go. Soon, there would be the
engagement party, the final farewells, and the journey down to the valley,
to her new home.
To find out the rest of Habiba’s story check out Tales for Canterbury, an anthology of short fiction put together by Cassie Hart and Anna Caro as a fundraiser for the Red Cross Christchurch Earthquake Appeal. The anthology includes a range of short stories donated by both national and international authors and may be purchased from Random Static here.
And Mary has added a little bit more about The Daughter of the Khan backstory on her blog, here, for those who want to find out more.