God Gave Me Butterfly Wings by Taylor Eaton: Review

As the title suggests, there's plenty angelic and heavenly in this collection of flash fiction (available at Amazon UK, and Amazon US too).


The occasional echoes of Márquez's magic(al) realism, or Liam O'Flaherty's short story His First Flight, suggest that many have mined similar seams. I don't know what Taylor Eaton reads, but her frequently dreamlike style and original choice of subject matter make this collection well worth a look.

Thematic drivers appear to be wings, the divine, and what we call Heaven. Eaton's surreal tack is often irreverent, very fast-and-loose when it comes to divinity, without ever crossing over into sacrilege. An expressive and assured voice throughout makes for some terrific lines, to the point that some of the phrases and sentences could well become aphorisms.

This image of a dead dragonfly completely misrepresents the magic of Taylor Eaton's collection, but what do you expect? I'm NOT a photographer!
One story reminded me of a sermon I heard at (a Catholic) Mass, about some kind of insect that would hatch underwater before pupating into a winged thing, breaking through the water never to return. As the priest explained it, the allegory went that the insects below water would ask their siblings to report back when they broke out, and let everyone below know what it was like out there. So a creature would break out and depart for what we would see as "Heaven" (above the water). Its brethren below could not understand why their fellows weren't reporting back to loved ones to tell them what was going on. It turns out that try as they might, the newly reborn creatures' wings and legs could not counteract the capillary action on the water's surface.

The book has numerous stories like the one above; they feature animals as often as they feature humans. This book's short enough to be moreish, and there's a richness in all of the stories. With a clever link from the last paragraph, and a hop and a skip, I'll add that I only hope Taylor Eaton will report back to the rest of us when she breaks out as the next big thing. Follow her on the Twitter, everybody! Coz she'll be superfamous!