Review of “Prodrome” by Amanda Leigh

The title “Prodrome” is defined in an epigraph: “any symptom that signals the impending onset of a disease.”

Sage tells his story in a series of journal entries beginning December 3, 2017. He is outside walking his dog when he sees the old man who lives in the apartment below him walking. The old man turns his cane in Sage’s direction, so the knob of the silver wolf handle reflects “stars of lamplight” across his face. The old man could be sinister. He could be a ghost, singing the song Sage’s father used to sing. He could be all in Sage’s imagination or he could be something else.


This sad little tale depicts a sense of isolation and fear not uncommon, particularly in Sage’s age group, that is, young adults out on their own for the first time. The reader watches Sage deteriorate and wonders what can be done. Where did he go wrong, if he went wrong? His roommate cares, and his professor cares. No one understands, no one sees.

Some of the imagery is striking. In describing the old man, Sage says, “he’s the only person I know whose cheeks leave steep valleys in the sides of his face like old Swiss cheese.” When he returns home, his roommate, Riley, is sitting on the couch between two women and offers him one. Uncharacteristically, Sage is not interested.

Both women were bland. Without a hint of makeup on either of them, they stared into space with their tired, lackluster eyes. Neither seemed to care about the fact that they were being auctioned off.

One is brunette, the other a redhead with perky boobs wanting to escape her spaghetti-string top. Not so much repulsive, but damn! Dull!

With all that aside, I found this a sad and satisfying read.

According to her blurb, author Amanda Leigh is a freelance poet whose work has been published in journals such as Tipton, Askew, Cultured Vultures, and Better than Starbucks.

This story can be read here.

©2018 Denise Longrie


Published by 9siduri

I have written book and movie reviews for the late and lamented sites Epinions and Examiner. I have book of reviews of speculative fiction from before 1900, and short works in publications such Mobius, Protea Poetry Journal, and, most recently, Wisconsin Review and Drunken Pen Writing. I'm busily working away on a book of reviews pulp science fiction stories from the 1930s-1960s. It's a lot of fun. I am the author of the short story "Always Coming Home," a chapbook of poetry titled "Sotto Voce," and a collection of reviews of pre-1900 speculative fiction, "By Firelight."

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