Horror Corner: April 2023
April 2023 Edition
By Jack Hawthorn & Nikita Imafidon
Claire Kohda’s Woman, Eating is horror, but its grasp reaches into reality. Based around Lydia, a young Japanese-American artist and, quite begrudgingly, a vampire, the story invites readers into a world of depressingly watching Buffy: The Vampire Slayer, mother-based trauma, and complications of everyday work interactions.
Mostly, however, Woman, Eating is about hunger and how to control it. Desperate to escape the villainous nature associated with vampire lore and legend, Lydia does not want to consume, growing weaker as she avoids what she needs: blood.
Aubrey Gordon, writer and podcaster from Maintenance Phase, wrote What We Don't Talk about When We Talk about Fat to debunk the damaging rhetoric she has faced all her life: that she could be better, healthier, or more beautiful if she could “just lose weight.” She simultaneously uses research to show the grasp thinness has on our society, maiming and killing people in its name.
While acknowledging that fat people exist and are targeted in all bodies, Kohda and Gordon create works, one a literary fiction tale and one essays that are all too real, revolving around a horror women face more frequently than a monster lurking under the bed: the mythical morality of eating and weight.
Swallow (2019) is a psychological thriller by Carlo Mirabella-Davis about a housewife who, lacking control of her marriage and daily life, is driven to swallow inedible objects. As the items get more dangerous, our main character feels more control, but she is harming herself in the process. Her consumption is not nourishing, and she expels blood, bringing shame if anyone is to find out.
While all this may feel hard to stomach, a tonic that may help is a cherry juice-based cocktail. Add cherry juice, gin, and a little lime juice to a tall glass, and top it off with some sparkling water and a little simple syrup for some sweetness. It’ll look like blood, but feel like a comfort drink.
Titles for ravenous feminine creatures. Hungry, Hurting, Hunting. What hunger doubles you over in the night, cramping in your gut? What leads you out into the dark streets, searching?
There are many hungers to explore. Let the titular Nightbitch and Dorothy Daniels of A Certain Hunger show you their paths. Illuminate your own with their glowing, glowering rage.
Feminine rage is fascinating and pertinent and often, almost always in fact, it is told to sit down and shut up. To watch its mouth and wipe that smile off its face.
These books fucking roar with that rage in their own unique voices. Hunger presents us the cunning, numb, simmering rage of Daniels, while Nightbitch comes in hot with a thundering pulse and blood in a growling throat.
Between the two of them we can see the differing manifestations of that rage. Both are driven to their own iterations of madness. For better or worse.
For the senses:
Enjoy with Hydra (2013) by Otep, for your listening pleasure.
Pair with The Menu (2022), and Raw (2016) to feast your eyes.
And most importantly for your stomach:
Sliced nectarines on a bed of arugula with pecans and shaved parmesan, lightly dressed in balsamic vinegar.
A rare (or raw, depending on your proclivities) steak seared in Irish butter.
Steven. Or the neighbor's cat. To be consumed while sipping on a Corpse Reviver #2. Just don't spill.
Nikita Imafidon (she/her) is the sidelines buyer and a co-owner of the Raven Book Store. She has been a bookseller for three and a half years, and she is an avid reader of graphic novels, social science books, and strange fiction. She is a Black queer embroidery artist with a passion for ephemeral communication, community building, and social justice. Find her work on Instagram at @nikita.the.star
Jack Hawthorn is a human wildfire currently residing in Lawrence, KS. They are the Events Manager and a co-owner of the Raven Book Store. They are passionate about creating/consuming micro-fiction, experimental writing, and all things that go bump in the night. They love their home and their bookstore and hope that you will too. Their work has appeared in Tilted House, Pyre Magazine, and Snarl. More can be found on them at @honeybeehag on Instagram.
An IndieNext Pick! A Best Book of 2022 in Harper’s Bazaar, Daily Mail, Glamour, and Thrillist!
Most Anticipated of 2022 in The Millions, Ms. Magazine, LitHub
From the creator of Your Fat Friend and co-host of the Maintenance Phase podcast, an explosive indictment of the systemic and cultural bias facing plus-size people.
In this blazingly smart and voracious debut novel, an artist turned stay-at-home mom becomes convinced she's turning into a dog. • "A must-read for anyone who can’t get enough of the ever-blurring line between the psychological and supernatural that Yellowjackets exemplifies." —Vulture
One of Vanity Fair's Books That Will Get You Through This Winter
"One of the most uniquely fun and campily gory books in my recent memory... A Certain Hunger has the voice of a hard-boiled detective novel, as if metaphor-happy Raymond Chandler handed the reins over to the sexed-up femme fatale and really let her fly. --The New York Times