Horror Corner: August 2023

Horror Corner

August 2023 Edition

By Nikita Imafidon & Christina James

Christina's Corner

I love looking for reasons to read horror all year round. It may still be summer, but it’s Spooky Season somewhere in the world. In fact, did you know the month of August is Japan’s spooky season? There’s a Buddhist festival to honor the deceased, haunted attractions, and it’s also a time to tell scary stories—perfect for chilling the bones in hot weather.

If you’d like to participate in Japan’s sweltering spooky season, I recommend consuming Japanese horror in whatever media form it comes. A great example would be Japanese author Ryu Murakami’s Audition.

This novella is a fantastic introduction to Japanese literary horror and psychological suspense. It starts out as a very leisurely-paced, almost mundane story about a widowed documentarian named Aoyama. He’s been without a partner for seven years and decides it’s about time he should remarry. When his best friend suggests he search for the perfect woman by hosting auditions for a fake film, a skeptical Aoyama agrees, not knowing it will be the start of trouble.

It’s easy to grow impatient with slow-burn horror, but trust me, the climax of this story is absolutely brutal. Audition comes with body horror, slow simmering suspense, and it’s easily a one-sitting read.

If you can stomach the book, feel free to also seek out the cult-classic 1999 film adaptation by the same name! The film does an excellent job of staying true to the book and not shying away from themes such as the politics of gender, objectification, trauma, grief, and desires overshadowing reason.

Top this pairing off with a refreshing Lemon Mint Slush (ice-blended lemonade and fresh mint leaves) so the horror won’t be the only thing chilling your bones near summer’s end.


Nikita's Corner

When art consumes the artist, what remains can be scarring. Suture by Nic Brewer explores this intimately, creating a world where your eyes slot into your camera for filmmaking and your lungs must be placed cleanly on your canvas. Typewriters run on blood, and Eva, Grace, and Finn live this truth. Each of these artists are bleeding for their art, and their lives are complicated by their inability to stop in this body horror read.

In Kelly Barnhill’s The Crane Husband, she interprets the Japanese myth of the crane wife through the eyes of a teen daughter whose artist mother brings home a crane one night. Locked in her weaving studio with this bespectacled crane, her mother becomes fully under the control of the crane. Her daughter is horrified by her mom’s neglect of her and her younger sibling. Her mother claims that it is only the crane that can help her create her masterpiece, and readers must hope she will not be woven into a trap.

Black Swan (2010) is a tamer body horror film, but it is about the willingness to let art consume you. Ballerina Nina is desperate to be perfect, and whether this is from her mother or herself, we can’t fully know. Nina is obsessive, and she will do what she can to become both the white and, more importantly, the black swan in Swan Lake, her theater company’s upcoming production. Attempts from others to be the perfect ballerina have been futile, and it is uncertain if Nina can survive her art.

An artist can subsist on many drinks, but one encouraging one is chai tea. Mix it with some milk on a full moon morning and sit outside, preferably by some water. If you see a crane, don’t invite them home.

Audition By Ryu Murakami, Ralph McCarthy (Translated by) Cover Image
By Ryu Murakami, Ralph McCarthy (Translated by)
ISBN: 9780393338416
Availability: In stock at our distributor’s warehouse; will be at the Raven in 3-10 bus. days! More at ravenbookstore.com/ordering-faqs
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - June 7th, 2010

The long-awaited translation of the novel behind the cult classic Japanese movie.

Suture By Nic Brewer Cover Image
This book is hard-to-find or out of print and we may not be able to get it. Email for more details.
ISBN: 9781771667029
Published: Book*hug Press - September 21st, 2021

To make her films, Eva must take out her eyes and use them as batteries. To make her art, Finn must cut open her chest and remove her lungs and heart. To write her novels, Grace must use her blood to power the word processor.

Suture shares three interweaving stories of artists tearing themselves open to make art.

Staff Pick Badge
The Crane Husband By Kelly Barnhill Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250850973
Availability: In stock at our distributor’s warehouse; will be at the Raven in 3-10 bus. days! More at ravenbookstore.com/ordering-faqs
Published: Tordotcom - February 28th, 2023

Nominated for the Nebula Award for Best Novella

“If I had to nominate a worthy successor to Angela Carter, I would nominate Kelly Barnhill. "—Laura Ruby, two-time National Book Award finalist and author of Bone Gap

"A slim little novella that packs a narrative punch more intense than that of many books ten times its length."—NPR