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‘Pangolin’ by Ama Kirchner

— Reneé Bibby

Full tilt decorative-gourd and scary-story season, I went to Molotov Cocktail in search of a spooky story to prime us all for Halloween—but instead I was totally sucked into heartbreak by Ama Kirchner’s ‘Pangolin.’ Like a clever The Notebook, Kirchner’s story is about love, loss, and Alzheimer’s but unlike The Notebook, everything potentially too tooth-achingly saccharine is balanced out by the snarkiness of the narrator, James; a gruff man who uses a mechanical pangolin as emotional support (and sidekick for mayhem), he never veers into melodrama.

Between the flashes of disorientation and lucidity, we glimpse the trajectory of James’ life—what’s at stake as his faculties deteriorate. His love story is finely wrought and even as we know what suffering likely awaits him and his love at the end of their journey, we can see the delights and sorrows of everything that came before this moment, and marvel at the beauty of it.


The Molotov Cocktail