‘Let the Past Begin’ sits squarely in the middle of what I’d think of as ‘Jonathan Carroll territory’, in that it gives the impression of a world that, if only you scratched the surface, would be far stranger than it appears. Carroll’s protagonist hears from his pregnant girlfriend, Ava, about the time she visited a fortune-teller/sage in Azerbaijan, whose powers (Ava believes) were genuine, and who told Ava that her child was cursed — its life would be the same as its father’s, in every major detail. The thing is, Ava doesn’t know whether the father is her current boyfriend or her ex, Eamon Reilly — and Eamon’s life is one that Ava would certainly not wish her child to live.
Carroll evokes ambiguity very well in this piece — if Ava’s oracle appears beyond belief, the known details of Eamon’s life are almost as strange, in their own way. I didn’t quite feel the full affect of fantasy that I have from some of Carroll, but this is still a fine story.
Jonathan Carroll’s website