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Review: 'The Admonishments of Kherishdar', by M.C.A. Hogarth

Edited by aquariusotter as of Sun 1 Sep 2013 - 23:20
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The Admonishments of KherishdarThis 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. [1])” 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.

CreateSpace, May 2009, trade paperback $20.00 (xi, 57 [+ 1] pages, some color; self-illustrated); eBook $2.99.

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.


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