You Can Rest Here: A Psalm for the Wild-Built by Becky Chambers

You Can Rest Here: A Psalm for the Wild-Built by Becky Chambers
A copy of A Psalm for the Wild-Built and A Prayer for the Crown-Shy by Becky Chambers, as well as Our Wives Under the Sea by Julia Armfield.

A thematic announcement: Reviews will be on hiatus through the end of August. I'll be having my gender affirmed (that's what the kids say, right?) and recovering from top surgery. I have a few musing emails scheduled to go out, but reviews will restart in September!

A Psalm for the Wild-Built opens with the dedication "For anyone who can use a break". It feels as though it provides a balm that answered my need to escape from a world that seems to be steadily headed toward crisis, personal burnout, and general hopelessness. In it, there's a vision of a possible future, where the climate crisis has been resolved and humans made the right choice when robots spontaneously became intelligent by letting them leave.

Even as the subject feels like an appropriate break, so does the story's pacing and stakes. It begins when Dex, a monk of the god of small comforts, decides they need to leave the City and become a tea monk. The struggle of the book is truly about Dex's inability to take their own breaks despite providing respite for others. They also struggle with larger questions of purpose; their decision to become a tea monk came from a need to do something, though they weren't quite sure what that need was.

"That's rather sudden"
"For you," Dex said. "Not for me"
A Psalm for the Wild-Built, p. 7

One thing that this novella does well is center the way that we can believe something is true in general, but be unable to apply it to our own life. Dex truly believes that rest and community are important; this is their work as a tea monk. How they resolve this is the core of the story, when prompted by an outside force.

Reading this book invites the reader to take a break as well. The beautiful writing allowed me space to breath and enjoy the story unfolding as I stepped out of the current world and into the hope that Becky Chambers provided.

Content Notes: None apply

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