The Honey Month

Amal El-Mohtar’s The Honey Month, with an introduction by Danielle Sucher, ranks among the year’s most exquisite treasures.

This beautiful volume of short fictions and poems takes as its inspiration the author’s tasting of 28 different kinds of honey, one per day. Each tasting leads to a different literary creation, each entry beginning with a description of the honey in terms that will be familiar to wine connoisseurs: “Day 3–Sag Harbor, NY, Early Spring Honey,” which has a color “pale and clear as snowmelt” and the smell “cool sugar crystals,” but also brings to mind “a stingless jellyfish I once held in my hand in Oman.” The taste? “…like the end of winter…[when] you can still see clumps of snow on the ground and the air is heavy with damp…”

The differences between the types of honey allow El-Mohtar to move back and forth between the poetic and the more casually contemporary, with the experiment of the tasting as the unifying structure. A perfect gift, a hidden treasure, a delight for the senses.

Amal El-Mohtar is a first-generation Lebanese-Canadian, currently pursuing a PhD in English literature at the Cornwall campus of the University of Exeter. Her short fiction and poetry have appeared in a range of publications both online and in print, including Strange Horizons, Shimmer, Cabinet des Fées, Sybil’s Garage, Mythic Delirium, and Ideomancer; her short fiction has also been broadcast on Podcastle. She won the 2009 Rhysling Award with her poem “Song for an Ancient City,” and co-edits Goblin Fruit, an online quarterly dedicated to fantastical poetry, with Jessica P. Wick.

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