With the intricate world building of China Miéville, and the same unique beauty as the author’s art, The Heart of Owl Abbas is a short story to be cherished.
Set in the city kingdom of Owl Abbas, the story concerns a starving artist who writes songs under the name of Excelsior, and the Nightingale automaton who sings in the garret across the street from his own.
When the voice of the Nightingale reaches the Palace Aster, the Little Emperor decides he must possess it.
With the search for the heart of Owl Abbas underway, what form does it take and where can it be found? Does a city without a heart deserve to stand?
If you are familiar with Jennings’ illustrations, you will know that they can be characterized by their beauty, their humor and the exquisite attention to detail. The author carries this through to her writing, which is quite a feat, because not only does it produce a literary treasure, it’s also a story very much about music, and she somehow manages to incorporate its movement and emotional resonance into the narrative as well. Therefore it is truly a feast for the senses.
I have no criticisms for this story, but I’ve noticed from other reviews that some people found the prose a bit dense and the detailed descriptions off putting.
I award The Heart of Owl Abbas…