Review: 'The Admonishments of Kherishdar', by M. C. A. Hogarth
This delightful booklet is a companion to the author’s The Aphorisms of Kherishdar, published in March 2008. To repeat what I said in my review of that booklet, “Kerishdar is the empire of the Ai-Naidar people; tall and slender tailed felinoid aliens of a society that spans five worlds and several thousand years, with laws and customs that have served us for as long as we have walked these earths. (pg. )” That booklet contains twenty-five short-short tales “designed to illuminate these customs and unwritten traditions”.
The Admonishments of Kherishdar are twenty-five more very succinct tales illustrating what Kherishdar society demands in the cases of transgressions against society. Fada (improper guilt) – dashalin (covetousness) – enil (non-conformity) – emeth (cutting; lack of empathy) – noshan ekain (vanity) – diqut (rape) – navel (child abuse) – mesiln (criminal negligence) -- and similar grievances. Not crimes, exactly, but violations of Kherishdar social mores.
Those are not translations of the grievances, but of the reactions, the responses to them. To covetousness, greed, the response is dashalin; public humiliation. To rape, the sentence is diqut; to be sexually assaulted in public. To criminal negligence, mesiln; to be publicly placed in the same circumstance as the negligence caused. Each case is narrated by the transgressor; each features the public servant charged to carry out the Correction in the name of Shame. In many cases it is the sinner who requests the Correction; less as a legal sentence than as a public penance – and the Correction is sometimes not what the transgressor expects. Is the minister in charge of the Correction a secular or religious official? These are Kherishdar, not humans.
This booklet calls itself a “volume”, but many of its reviewers have used the same description that its companion had; a “chapbook”. As I said in the previous review, “A traditional chapbook would be a cheaply printed small volume meant to be used carelessly and then discarded. There is nothing cheap about this elegant trade paperback, printed on high-quality paper … plus five full-page full-color illustrations.” The Admonishments has six full-color paintings including two double-page spreads [preview]. These are two booklets that you will not want to discard, but keep permanently to dip into from time to time.