Shannon Cain, "The Necessity of Certain Behaviors"

An American woman gets separated from her eco-tourism group and joins up with a tribe native to the region.

(from The O. Henry Prize Stories 2008)

What a strange and pretty story. Strange, because its language is so present tense and matter-of-fact, you wonder sometimes if it’s all a big metaphor for something or other. But it’s not. And so pretty, inspirationally so. Lisa encounters a new morality, or maybe just a social structure, and finds it suits her well. And it kind of looks like a workable one. Of course, every time Spock and Kirk came across some new world, the strangely familiar alien civilization would appear to have its shit together. Then you find out oh but they eat their young, or they make their prisoners fight to the death or something.The story’s over but the other shoe may drop on Lisa yet.

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