Welcome back to the Lovecraft reread, in which two modern Mythos writers get girl cooties all over old Howard’s sandbox, from those who inspired him to those who were inspired in turn.
This week, we’re reading Joanna Russ’s “The Little Dirty Girl,” first published in 1982 in Terri Windling and Mark Alan Arnold’s Elsewhere, volume 2 anthology. Spoilers ahead.
“Oh yes I do,” said the Little Clean Girl. “I live up the hill and under the hill and over the hill and behind the hill.”
Narrator writes to an unnamed correspondent. Does correspondent like cats? She’s allergic to them, yet they flock to her, twine around her ankles, demanding. She dislikes children (no, she feels awkward around them), yet little boys often make her their confidante. She’s exposed to these aggressive felines and youngsters on her daily therapeutic walk. The doctor says her back will eventually heal, but ...