This is a tightly wound mousetrap of a story that plays out like a Hitchcockian fever dream. It follows comically foibled Lise, an unraveling heroine on a bewildering mission of self destruction. The author had me fooled up until the final pages where everything snapped into place. Genius.
This slight but viciously effective novella introduces a sadomasochistic mythology that spills over with gore and poetics. The monastic creatures within are iconic for a reason: they intrigue, terrify, and titillate. But its the human characters that are the real monsters, driven by ego and selfish desire. This tale explores the line between pleasure and pain and reveals the bloody face of transcendence.
What an angry and satisfying story. Apart from creating a compelling and morally ambiguous character worthy of his own series, Lavalle serves up a rebut to the xenophobia writhing in the depths of the Lovecraft mythos. This book made me hold up foot traffic on the way to the store, demanding that I finish the heartbreaking chapter before I took another step. J'adore.
Do you ever find yourself wanting more Lovecraft in your diet, but without the misogyny and antisemitism? Johnson turns Lovecraft on his head with this fast-paced and dreamlike quest story, featuring a mature woman as the hero, and lots of strange creatures and places.
Strange, accessible, and delightful!