Feed Them Silence

Feed Them Silence by Lee Mandelo (Summer Sons) is an original speculative novella and, beyond that, a singular sensory experience. Dr. Sean Kell-Luddon has always wanted to run with the wolves: to know what it means to smell, taste and experience the world the way they do and to feel part of a pack. When she receives private funding for her experimental study on neurological linkages between humans and animals, using herself as the primary test subject, she enters into the mind of Kate, a local wolf in the wild. But Sean falls deeper into her work and finds herself disconnecting not only from the human world but also from her partner, Riya.

Mandelo's lush descriptions make Sean and Kate's dual wants, needs and fears feel visceral. From the moment the initial neurological link occurs, Mandelo launches readers into Kate-via-Sean's embodied processing as the "wolves rolled across the loamy forest floor, slobbering on faces and chewing ears and outpouring love. The startling recognition of a specific feeling--plus the cracking stretch of her own heaving rib cage--offered Sean a brief psychic harbor." Mandelo locates the novella's primary tension in these descriptions: what it means to intellectually untangle the instinctive desires of the body, human or otherwise, and to feel--or be inside of--what seems like physical need. As Sean "split[s] her attentions between the staggering wealth of affective input and her critical understanding of those inputs," Mandelo destabilizes the way one feels intimacy at the same time as they invoke that feeling naturally. --Alice Martin, freelance writer and editor

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