The second story by Grace Chan in Black Cranes: Tales of Unquiet Women—and the twelfth story of the collection—”The Mark” is quite unlike the last one I read by her (“Of Hunger and Fury” here) but in a good way. Where “Of Hunger” was a visceral ghost story, in “The Mark” I wasn’t sure if I was reading a woman’s story of madness, an allegory on marital dishonesty or actual events. Perhaps it was a combination. This doesn’t detract from the story at all, but adds to the depth.

Chan brings the reader into the story to seamlessly experience the confusion and discomfort of the narrator as her relationship, and world collapses. Chan artfully gilds mundane events with a sinister glint. Things we all say every day take on a new twist as the narrator relates them with surrealism that progresses with the story. By the end, I’m not sure what the truth is, but the narrator and the reader can all agree—something is very, very wrong.

“The Mark” by Grace Chan from Black Cranes: Tales of Unquiet Women

Chan’s last story gave me a feeling of fury. This story communicates cold dysphoria. I think we have all experienced a relationship that has a falsehood embedded somewhere. The challenge is to figure out how deep and damaging it runs. Another excellent story by Grace Chan.

“The Mark” by Grace Chan is the twelfth story in Black Cranes: Tales of Unquiet Women, an anthology of Asian women in horror. Grace Chan is a Melbourne-based speculative fiction writer and doctor. Her family immigrated from Malaysia to Australia before her first birthday. She completed a medical degree in 2012 and is currently working and training in psychiatry. Her inspirations include Oliver Sacks, Ursula Le Guin, Isobelle Carmody, China Mieville, Ken Liu and Ted Chiang. In her downtime, she enjoys coffee, space operas, and thinking about where we come from and where we’re all going.

Her writing can be found in Going Down Swinging #39 and Monash University’s upcoming Verge Anthology. Her novella, ‘The Ship of Theseus,’ has been shortlisted for Seizure’s Viva la Novella VII.

Get your copy of Black Cranes: Tales of Unquiet Women
direct from the publisher here.

Find out about the other stories
in Black Cranes: Tales of Unquiet Women (and more)
here under the #amreading tag.

Related links:
Black Cranes: A Review in Verse by Renata Pavrey | Tomes and Tales
Skeleton Hour 04: Black Cranes | Horror Writers
Black Cranes Release Day Panel | Omnium Gatherum
Black Cranes: Tales of Unquiet Women by Lee Murray I | Gingernuts of Horror
Black Cranes: Tales of Unquiet Women by Lee Murray II | Gingernuts of Horror
Meet Black Crane Lee Murray |
Meet Black Crane Grace Chan |
Meet Black Crane Geneve Flynn |

Angela Yuriko Smith

By Angela Yuriko Smith

Angela Yuriko Smith is a third-generation Shimanchu-American and award-winning poet, author, and publisher with 20+ years of experience as a professional writer in nonfiction. Publisher of Space & Time magazine (est. 1966), producer of the Exercise Your Writes YouTube podcast, two-time Bram Stoker Awards® Winner, and HWA Mentor of the Year for 2020. She shares a weekly calendar of author opportunities at

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *