The Ladies of Horror Fiction have a nice mix of recommendations for you this Wednesday! Don’t forget to hit the tag up above to find more excellent books to add to your tbr piles.
Bluebeard’s First Wife by Ha Seong-nan
Disasters, accidents, and deaths abound in Bluebeard’s First Wife. A woman spends a night with her fiancé and his friends, and overhears a terrible secret that has bound them together since high school. A man grows increasingly agitated by the apartment noise made by a young family living upstairs and arouses the suspicion of his own wife when the neighbors meet a string of unlucky incidents. A couple moves into a picture-perfect country house, but when their new dog is stolen, they become obsessed with finding the thief, and in the process, neglect their child. Ha’s paranoia-inducing, heart-quickening stories will have you reconsidering your own neighbors.
Audra’s Teaser Review
This is a collection of 11 short stories. Though I’m not sure that Ha Seong-nan’s writing can really be put in a box, I definitely consider her writing horror—my favorite kind of horror that sits quietly on the edge of your bed as you sleep, suffusing your dreams with dark imagery. There aren’t any jump scares or supernatural happenings—it is just a dark world outside, and sometimes it stains you. All of the stories but one focus on female protagonists, and this is clearly where Ha Seong-nan shines. The stories end up being about much more than the plot, offering commentary on women’s roles and society’s expectations of them.
Read Audra’s entire review at Goodreads.
It Will Just Be Us by Jo Kaplan
Sam Wakefield’s ancestral home, a decaying mansion built on the edge of a swamp, isn’t a place for children. Its labyrinthine halls, built by her mad ancestors, are filled with echoes of the past: ghosts and memories knotted together as one. In the presence of phantoms, it’s all Sam can do to disentangle past from present in her daily life. But when her pregnant sister Elizabeth moves in after a fight with her husband, something in the house shifts. Already navigating her tumultuous relationship with Elizabeth, Sam is even more unsettled by the appearance of a new ghost: a faceless boy who commits disturbing acts—threatening animals, terrorizing other children, and following Sam into the depths of the house wielding a knife. When it becomes clear the boy is connected to a locked, forgotten room, one which is never entered, Sam realizes this ghost is not like the others. This boy brings doom. As Elizabeth’s due date approaches, Sam must unravel the mysteries of Wakefield before her sister brings new life into a house marked by death. But as the faceless boy grows stronger, Sam will learn that some doors should stay closed—and some secrets are safer locked away forever.
Alex’s Teaser Review
I do recommend this for fans of ghost stories, haunted houses, and gothic literature. It checks off all the boxes you would expect.
Read Alex’s entire review at Goodreads.
Tender Is The Flesh by Agustina Bazterrica
Working at the local processing plant, Marcos is in the business of slaughtering humans—though no one calls them that anymore.
His wife has left him, his father is sinking into dementia, and Marcos tries not to think too hard about how he makes a living. After all, it happened so quickly. First, it was reported that an infectious virus has made all animal meat poisonous to humans. Then governments initiated the “Transition.” Now, eating human meat—“special meat”—is legal. Marcos tries to stick to numbers, consignments, processing.
Then one day he’s given a gift: a live specimen of the finest quality. Though he’s aware that any form of personal contact is forbidden on pain of death, little by little he starts to treat her like a human being. And soon, he becomes tortured by what has been lost—and what might still be saved.
Emily’s Teaser Review
Tender is the Flesh is WILD. I don’t even know where to start with this one – it’s completely captivating and disturbing, and even though it’s so grim, it’s hard to put down.
Read Emily’s entire review at Goodreads.
Tracy’s Teaser Review
First published in Argentina, translator Sarah Moses did an excellent job in helping prepare this novel for its 2020 English language release. If any book can be called a MUST READ this year, Tender is the Flesh is the one. It is difficult to narrow down a “recommended for” list for this book because it is so wholly unique. Recommended for every reader both in and outside of the genre; there, that works.
Read Tracy’s entire review at Horror DNA.
Thank you for joining us today! We hope you found something to add to your tbr list. Please share your recent reads with us in the comments below.
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