Seeker of Stars, by Susan Fish (Winding Trail Press, 2005)
Melchi has always been fascinated by the stars’ slow dance in the night sky. Even after exhausting days learning the family trade of rug making, he steals to the rooftop at night to gaze on his “beauties”.
When his father at last permits him to go and study with the astronomers, Melchi plays a key part in discovering the meaning of a new star and joins the expedition to Jerusalem in search of the newborn king of the Jews.
Told in the first person by an adult Melchoir who looks back over the events leading to his journey—and what happened at its end—Seeker of Stars carries an exotic taste as if this ancient scholar had learned English and invited us to hear the tale.
I love the richness of the language, both in feel and in word choice. Susan Fish says a lot in a very few pages, and creates memorable, complex characters.
This novella has become a part of my Christmas tradition. The season’s first strains of “We Three Kings” bring the story to life in my mind, but I save the reading—like a treat—to savour in the days after Christmas. Ideally I’ll read it around the time of Epiphany, when Christians observe the Magi’s visit.