Horror Corner: March 2023
Photo from The Blair Witch Project directed by Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sánchez, from Haxan Films production studio.
March 2023 Edition
By Jack Hawthorn & Nikita Imafidon
Cassandra Khaw's The Salt Grows Heavy is a delirious bacchanal of the most poetically putrid imagery. Best to keep the book closed when it isn't being read lest something dripping and hungry emerge from the unwatched pages. Though it's unlikely the book will release you from its grip at all.
The prose is as elegant and precise as it is disturbing. It pirouettes from the timeless depths of the abyssal oceans to the rotted heart of the frozen taiga.
Combining millennia of whispers in the dark, the mistelling of countless stories, and the cannibalizing science and magic—we have a love story amidst all the gore.
For film, pair with The Shape of Water and Young Frankenstein. For literature, something pungently occult, like The Language of the Corpse: The Power of the Cadaver in Germanic and Icelandic Sorcery or A Witch's Bestiary: Visions of Supernatural Creatures, should do nicely. As for consumption, a dark morello cherry martini—wet, served with prosciutto to be torn apart with the teeth and hands as if you are starving for sinew and salt.
Human Sacrifices is visceral, gut-wrenching, and eerie. In stories that are only a few pages long, María Fernanda Ampuero captures the violence of living on the margins similarly to Blood Feast by Malika Moustadraf. She leaves you feeling concerned about every blow of wind while connecting to the realities of poverty and abuse.
Each story builds on the suspense of a threat lurking past the pages. A woman believes she has found her true love but suspects a monster underneath in one story. Juniper Fitzgerald’s Enjoy Me Among My Ruins explores sex work and motherhood in a short memoir that packs a similar punch. Through letters to childhood hero Gillian Anderson, Fitzgerald becomes her own x-file, perceived as a monster for daring to have a child with her profession.
Fernanda Ampuero’s work also connects to the Greek psychological thriller Dogtooth (2009) in a disturbing feeling that permeates the screen and a theme of a father’s violence. A man keeps his two daughters and son in a house with little but his rules to keep them preoccupied, shifting their reality to one of family abuse.
The weight of this media calls for a whiskey sour. Bitter yet sweet, warming yet a reality check, it is the perfect drink for perspective with a little extra lemon.
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.
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
From Cassandra Khaw, USA Today bestselling author of Nothing But Blackened Teeth, comes The Salt Grows Heavy, a razor-sharp and bewitching fairy tale of discovering the darkness in the world, and the darkness within oneself.
“This brilliant novella is not to be missed.” —Publishers Weekly, STARRED review
Among the ancient Germanic peoples there existed a highly developed stream of magical belief and practice devoted to, and stemming directly from, the dead.
A Witch's Bestiary delves through ancient mythological records and esoteric occult sources to encounter and catalog the denizens of the unknown. It takes the reader on a journey through the most fantastical tales of animals previously known to only a precious few.
A groundbreaking voice in contemporary Latin American literature, Mar a Fernanda Ampuero's writing is "raw and savage" as she confronts machismo, inequity, and violence in this acclaimed short story collection (Vistazo).
A cult classic by Morocco's foremost writer of life on the margins.
Malika Moustadraf (1969-2006) is a feminist icon in contemporary Moroccan literature, celebrated for her stark interrogation of gender and sexuality in North Africa.
Combining feminist theories, X-Files fandom, and memoir, Enjoy Me among My Ruins draws together a kaleidoscopic archive of Juniper Fitzgerald's experiences as a queer sex-working mother.