Short Story Review: You’ll Surely Drown Here If You Stay by Alyssa Wong

Note: This review is part of the 2016 Summer Reading Diversity Spotlight.

You’ll Surely Drown Here If You Stay
By Alyssa Wong
Release Date: May/June 2016 Issue
Publisher: Uncanny Magazine
Genre: Historical Fantasy
Source: Read Online
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You’ll Surely Drown Here If You Stay takes place in the Old West and follows a boy (in second person POV!!! loved it!!!) who has a power (which he hasn’t quite mastered) that lets him control death and be one with life, with the earth. It’s quite fascinating to see so clearly, as Alyssa Wong is such a wonderful storyteller; all of her words really jump off the page and grip you tight as you’re carefully placed into this colorful world.

We find our main character working in a brothel where he has one friend, one tangible hope. In regards to his parents, well. It’s complicated. I don’t want to spoil too much. So…

This story is a great exploration of what it’s like living with a curse in a survival of the fittest, use everyone for personal gain society, what it means to embrace your identity. It’s a fine exploration of power and expectations, love and boundaries, fear and the limitations it brings, it allows for, it thrives in. Grief and holding on. Moving on. What an intensely rich and sobering mirror of real life.

Everyone doesn’t get a happy ending but everyone soars down their own path and seeing that displayed so beautifully here really made this story for me.

The characters and relationships all felt so real and were a diverse make up so it really did feel real. The story itself is strange and captivating and quite stirring. I loved the writing and the pacing, which I knew I would having enjoyed a few of Wong’s short stories in the past. And while this isn’t necessarily my favorite short story of hers, I am glad that I read it and would encourage anyone interested in checking this out to do so!

You’ll Surely Drown Here If You Stay by Alyssa Wong is available to read at