Round-up: P. Djeli Clark

One of my favorite new writers is P. Djèlí Clark. I first discovered him from longer length short-stories, and then his novellas. As I enthusiastically reviewed his work, it led to interesting discussions on the ability of male authors to write female perspectives. (I wasn’t the only reader to wonder upon reading about Clark’s gender).


“A Tale of Woe”  (Beneath Ceaseless Skies 253)


Interesting, clever, and a complex emotional center. Solid read. Reminds me a bit of Martha Wells’ City of Bones and Wheel of the Infinite. Rana is of the Order of Soothers, who have the ability to remove soul-strangling sorrows so that a person may heal. She’s come to the multicultural city of Aruth on a mysterious mission.

His woe reminded Rana of the soft-bodied sea creatures she’d seen for sale at market, whose stinging tentacles were a delicacy here in Aruth. Perhaps it was because the fisherman’s life dealt with the sea; or perhaps knowing his work, she simply imagined it so. Woe was different for each person, after all. And whether it took its shape from the harvester or the harvested was still a matter of debate among the Order of Soothers, who kept a list of its many observed forms. Whatever the case, this one would kill if it remained—as deadly as any cancer.

A Tale of Woe


The Haunting of Tram Car 015 (published novella)

Review link here.


The Secret Lives of the Nine Negro Teeth of George Washington (Fireside Magazine 2018)

My least favorite Clark. This one did not work as well for me, consisting as it did of nine little short-short stories about each of George Washington’s teeth originating from various Negro people who were slaves. The slaves aren’t necessarily connected, except that they end up in George’s mouth. At the end of each is a cute little semi-epilogue where the tooth continues to represent some of the traits of it’s original person. I wanted more inter-connectivity between the stories, or failing that, longer stories about each person. Doesn’t quite transcend to the concept that even in death, these nine people didn’t have ownership of their own bodies. Hopefully it will intrigue people new to Clark enough to give him a try.


Ghost Marriage (Apex Magazine, 105, Feb 20, 2018)

Ghost Marriage


A Dead Djinn in Cairo (, May 16, 2016)

A Dead Djinn in Cairo


The Things My Mother Left Me  (Fantasy 60, December 2016)

A five-star story that is something along the lines of one of those traditional orphan-escapes/claims-destiny fairy tale, only freshened up. Very feminist, which is bound to happen when your mother might have been the Bandit Queen.

“Seven crocodiles they were, all with their mouths wide, ready to eat her up. But like the clever birds that fed between those sharp teeth, she was determined to outwit them.”

The Things My Mother Left Me


With a Golden Risha (Heroic Fantasy Quarterly 23, February 2, 2015)


What the Sea Wants (Daily Science Fiction, 2011)


Shattering the Spear (Heroic Fantasy Quarterly Zine, 2011)



Wings for Icarus (Daily Science Fiction, 2011)


The Machine (Every Day Fiction, December 31, 2010)

A quick little allegory.

About thebookgator

avid reader and Goodreads reviewer looking for a home.
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2 Responses to Round-up: P. Djeli Clark

  1. cathepsut says:

    I read Negro Teeth and like it. Djinn in Cairo is on my reading list, I have to do some catching up…

    • thebookgator says:

      Yes, I have to do some linky-stuff here, bc I own the novellas that are published, and I think did reviews for them all. He’s one of my Writers To Keep An Eye On, for sure.

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