Miwa has become a "Silenced." She had been an architect and married but now works as a receptionist at a division, "notorious for wasting words." She is a widow and had merely stopped reporting to her job as an architect for many months after the sudden death of her husband.
Simultaneously with her loss of her voice, many birds simply fell out of the sky and frightened the residents. It was at first thought that the people afflicted with silence were connected somehow to the bird deaths. Miwa is required to report to the facility each day but is followed by a man who is at once stern and yet friendly. It is also interesting that Aya, Miwa's co-worker, seems to enjoy Miwa's company more now that Miwa cannot speak back. We all know people who don't care to hear what we have to say, they just want us to listen to them. "Aya seems even more drawn to Miwa in her current state."
"Reclaimed" is an interesting story about language, mourning and death, and memory. What are the roles of words and how do they work or do not work for us? Words are powerful but abstract. Can words help us remember? Sometimes we realize that our voices are "hardly required at all" meaning that we have no voice, no power. Miwa shreds documents, i.e. words, and yet has to reclaim words reading them "out quiet."
All in all, it is a sad story that death, one's death, is that and only that. It affects not too many people, actually, but the effects is does have are deep and painful.
"Reclaimed" by Sakata is in the Spring 2014 issue of Zoetrope: All-Story.
18 May, 2012
"Unintended" won the Jeffrey E. Smith Editors' Prize at The Missouri Review. And it is her first published piece. That's encouraging and it's a great story.
Sakata is the production editor at the literary journal, Devil's Lake, produced at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.
The cover photograph of this month's The Missouri Review is by Susan kae Grant who teaches at Texas Woman's University. The journal is often to be found at book stores like Barnes and Noble. Get a copy, it's a nice cover.
Devil's Lake website
The Missouri Review web page
The Missouri Review page that shows Grant's photo