This novella is perfect and I loved it and you should read it ... This book made me feel at home even though I've never been to Egypt. The cadences of the speech were there, Arabic words where they should be in a sentence to denote emphasis without straying into empty exotic flourish ... Hamed and Onsi are pure delight — Hamed's slightly sulky point of view ripe for puncturing with new information, which eager, earnest and well-read Onsi readily supplies. This is less a story about a haunted tram car than a vivid, loving imagining of what a successfully decolonized Middle-East and North Africa could look like, with people looking at each other and seeing each other and their differences without the interfering, distorting lenses of whiteness and imperialism ... For all that the main characters are men, the gaze that encounters several different, vivacious female characters is an awed and loving one, and conversations about gender feel grounded in character and richly effective. The work women are doing together to obtain suffrage is deeply felt and wonderful, and I was frequently overwhelmed by how much joy the reading was bringing me ... a zippy, wonderful romp, and it's made me want to seek out everything P. Djèlí Clark has written in this setting ... I'm so grateful for how happy it made me, how kind it is, and how loving. I deeply hope to see novel-length works in this world.
For years now, P. Djèlí Clark has quietly been cranking out short fiction that is as fantastical as it is attuned to social justice. Through captivating characters unlike any we’ve ever seen before and sumptuous worldbuilding that twists the familiar into something exciting and new, Clark works his own magic ... In young adult science fiction and fantasy, the trend of POC authors deconstructing colonialism has been gaining traction recently, but it is still fairly uncommon in adult SFF. Here’s hoping Clark is only the tip of the iceberg ... If last year’s stellar novella The Black God’s Drum hadn’t already solidified P. Djèlí Clark as one of the best under-the-radar writers today, The Haunting of Tram Car 015 will. In just over 100 pages filled with monstrous creatures and fanciful magic, Clark critiques the patriarchy, imperialism, and Westernization under the guise of a slight plot about a haunted public transit trolley. This book should be on every recommendation list of the best fantasy fiction for 2019. I can’t wait to see what he writes next.