The week that I finished this book, the little dude said to me that he was watching this crazy anime and told me the plot. I was like that is weird because I am reading a book where humans are breed and raised for food. Now if that isn’t enough coincidences for you I was also watching Hannibal while I was reading this book. It is super crazy how things like that happen. Also we are in the middle of a pandemic which is also mentioned in this book. BUT, not in the little dudes anime. He thought it was super cool that he was watching an anime where people were going to be food. However, I think it was inspired by Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro actually. Anyway, back to this amazing little story.
Pssttt……I am trying a different format for my review. I am just writing my thoughts out, with NO SPOILERS.
Synopsis: Dystopian future where humans are raised as meat.
My thoughts: Holy Moly!!! There is a lot to really like about this story. The horrific nature of the writing is defiantly one of those things. It was straight forward. This is one of those stories where you don’t get to read every single internal thought the main character is thinking. There are sparks of what he is thinking but it is still from an outside perspective. I don’t read many reviews for books. But I wanted to see what other people had to say when I finished and this book is really polarizing. Honestly, I was really surprised at some people’s reactions. I understand that cannibalism is a subject that people aren’t entirely comfortable with. However, if you look at the history of cannibalism humans have been partaking of other humans for as long as there have been humans. Yes, it is a tabor’s subject but the way the story was wrapped up it was defiantly necessary.
What I do find interesting is the comparisons drawn between modern meat farming and what was happening to the humans in the book. The discussion of using hormones and other chemicals. The selective breeding to increase yield. That to me is grotesque and barbaric. I felt the same disgust when I was reading The Jungle by Upton Sinclair. Do I still eat meat? Yes I do. However, my eyes are completely open to what happens in factory farming. I choose my meat carefully. I loved this about the story. It flips the whole factory farming premise on its head. Would society allow factory farming on humans?
Personally, I truly loved this book. Bazterrica, took the premise of the story and really made it her own. There is a huge twist that I didn’t see coming. The pacing was fantastic. It is a really quick read that grabs you and doesn’t let go. I love Bazterrica’s characters as well. It wasn’t that they were nice or anything like that. But you really got a cringe when you were reading some of them. This is so telling about how well Bazterrica writes. If you are looking for something different to read please pick this up. It really is a wonderfully written book.
Star Rating: 5 Stars all the way around!!
Quirky little books soothe my soul. Sometimes you just don’t want a novel but you want something that is longer than a short story. The novella is perfect to feed that need. (oh lord I just sounded like a slim Jim commercial, sorry about that). But you get my point. The quirkier the better. I had heard about this novella by Yoko Ogawa a couple of years ago but hadn’t been able to find it. However, around Christmas I was wandering around Barnes and Nobel and spotted it on the shelf. One lone copy…..I did what any self respecting book nerd does. I snatched it up and carried it around with me. (Before you say gasp and say omg you were out and about….let me just put that in perspective….I have been stuck in the house with my family since last March. I was masked and have hand sanitizer in my bag at all times.) It called to me as I carried it around the store. So it came home with me and satisfied my hunger.
Synopsis: A story of friendship with a interesting twist.
What I liked: The premise of the story is fantastic and I loved it. The writing and the characterizations are something Ogawa really shines. As you are reading you can picture them in your minds eye. The interesting twist is something that I haven’t personally read yet. I really appreciated how Ogawa wove that throughout the story.
What I didn’t like: Nothing!!
Star Rating: 5
My Thoughts: This isn’t a super dark story. It was melancholy in places but in other places it was pure hope and light. The friendship was lovely. It was just pure. The main characters relationship just was lovely. Honestly, this novella is a pick me up. Especially, the end. The end was lovely and I had the sniffles because of it.
A couple years ago, I read a book that was based on a Russian fairytale. After I read that I went looking for another book that wasn’t necessarily set in Russia but had the same type of vibe. I ended up reading the epic which is Kristen Lavransdetter by Sigrid Undset. Since then Women in translation has had me hooked. This is the third book by Yoko Ozawa that I have read. I have always enjoyed her work but this was a little uh for me.
Synopsis: A writer lives on a island where things disappear and are “erased” from memory.
What I liked: I really enjoyed the idea of the story. I also like the parallels that the reader can draw with other times in history. Also there were passages that were lush and full. I do like Ogawa’s characters. They usually have quirks or something that makes them unique. I enjoyed the pacing of the main story.
What I didn’t like: I didn’t really enjoy the story that the writer in the book was working on.
Star Rating: 3.5
My Thoughts: I normally like Yoko Ogawa’s stories, but this one was a bit different. I enjoyed the idea of the book but I wasn’t a fan of the story about the typist being inserted. For me it didn’t work. I am sure that there is a thread there that I may have missed. But it just fell flat for me. The rest of the story was flowed well and was enjoyable but the typist story really pulled me out of the main story. The ending also felt a little forced. The story meandered along and then BAM the end. The ending though…..I really liked the doing. I think my heart broke a little.
There is a lot to like in this story, but I don’t think that this is the best of Ogawa’s books. I personally, enjoyed Revenge immensely!!
In the last few years there has been an increase in Nordic Noir. Dark crime stories where a horrible crime has been committed. A rumpled detective is assigned and he or she have to unravel all the dark secrets of the individual. It is a particularly popular genre since the release of the Stieg Larsson’s Slander books. I have personally read them and loved them; as well as, the movies based on the book. NOT the English remake but the Swedish language movies. The nordic noir genre generally revolves around secrets. Secrets of the victims, secrets of the people investigating the crime and secrets of the victims relations. I am here for it!! So when I saw The Tenant come up I knew I had to read it and I am so glad that I did. THANK you Scout Press for my review copy.
Synopsis: A brutal murder of a young woman….brings out many dark secrets of those around her.
What I liked: Sqqquueeeaaalll. I love Nordic Noir. Especially, well written and plotted out stories. Engberg didn’t disappoint. The story was fast paced and addicting. Which I needed. The characters were three dimensional and well written. The secrets where dark and well hidden. I didn’t actually guess the who did it until close to the end of the book which delighted me. Also it read very smoothly which lends to the translator Chace. She was able to take the story from Danish to English and not lose the story and the twist and turns. The twist and turns were fantastic. You didn’t see them coming until it was right on you, which was perfect.
What I didn’t like: There isn’t anything that I didn’t like about the story.
Star Rating; 4 stars
My thoughts: I am so very happy with all the women in translation that I am reading. A good chunk of books that are translated are Nordic Noir. This was Engberg’s debut and I am very impressed with it. I can’t wait to see what else she has up her sleeve for her next book. If you like Nordic noir I highly recommend this book. It is a quick paced read.
Millions of women go to work everyday; leaving their children in the care of a nanny or day care center. Leaving your small child in the care of someone else is anxiety inducing. But, what would happen if your in home help, started to run your life. What would you do? Would you worry about the nannies feelings or would you cut bait and run? The Perfect Nanny explores this and so much more.
Synopsis: A nanny does the unthinkable.
What I liked: The way the Slimani structured the book was clever. It started with the ending first and then moved into the story. Slimani pulls you into this story kicking and screaming. The interesting thing about Slimani’s writing is that she is able to provide snippets of the nanny’s life without reveling everything. There are two POVs in the story which are done so very well. As a reader you know who’s POV you are reading.
What I didn’t like: I wanted a bit more in the ending. I wanted to know all the things.
Star Rating: 4 stars
My thoughts: I really loved this book. However, if you have an aversion to child death I would suggest you skip it. It is only in the first page of the book but it would still be distressing for some readers. Slimani’s writing is complex. This is a very quick read but it is a complex read that will make you have all the feels. As you read the story you fall down the rabbit hole of the nanny’s psyche. One question this raised for me was the idea of perfection. What makes someone perfect? Is there something hiding in a perfect person that causes them to snap one day or is there something brewing underneath that cool and calm exterior.
I love body horror in any shape or size. It speaks to me on a very visceral level. The idea that you take a bodily function or just something that happens and you can make a horror story about it. You can take it and make something amazing. It amazes me that people can do that. Body is an amazing collection of body horror stories.
Synopsis: Collection of body horror stories.
What I liked: I really enjoyed each of these stories. Each story is unique and deals with a different body horror type story. Her prose is iso sharp and every word feels like it is particularly chosen. Which lends to the brilliance of the original manuscript and the translator. Each story is so unique. There isn’t a bad story in the bunch. I want to shove this book into everyone’s hands. It is so different than many of the other horror books on the market at the moment.
What I didn’t like: That more people aren’t talking about this book.
Star Rating: 5 Stars
My thoughts: I haven’t figured out why I haven’t heard more about this book. Nonami should be on everyone’s radar. There is so many amazing things about these stories that I really loved. The entire collection spoke to me on such a level that I had to read it a second time. This doesn’t happen very often….I want to shove this book in everyone’s hands.
The last few years have seen a proliferation of odd fiction and movies and I am here for it. I had watched Braid on recommendation from my friend Emily. As part of Women in Translation month I came across a few reviews for The Vegetarian which sounded like an amazingly odd tale. Can I just say it scratch the odd fiction itch for me.
Synopsis: A woman becomes a vegetarian out of the blue and chaos ensues.
Things I liked: Kang really takes you on a roller coaster of a story. She actually fits three stories into one. I really appreciated how she approached the story of this woman from three different angles and how her choices actually affect her family. What I appreciated was how she spun the vegetarianism as a character in the story. Kang is a fantastic writer and the pacing of the three stories was perfect and really pushed towards the ending.
Things I didn’t like: There is a trope that is used that I am never too keen on being used but I can see why Kang used it.
Star Rating: 3.5 Stars
My Thoughts: I loved the weirdness of the three stories. The first story was amazing. I totally loved it. However, I felt like it was being used as a introduction to the rest of the book. Which was a shame. I did like the idea that Kang used three different stories to look at what was happening to the woman. However, they didn’t really tie together really well. The second story is set some time in the future but you don’t get that information. This is the same with the third story. I just feel like some details where missing.
Can I just say I am loving Women in translation month. I have heard of Ogawa and have seen Revenge on other people’s TBRs and because it was available at the library I snatched it up. I read this book in one sitting. I would love if everyone would pick up this book and read how the stories are interwoven together.
Synopsis: 11 interrelated short stories.
What I liked: I loved Ogawa’s writing style. It is lyrical and haunting. The stories are interrelated; one thread leading to another thread. Stories discussed within stories. Books discussed within stories. Each story is like a build up. The first couple of stories are simple building up to more complex stories towards the end of the book. The complexity of the stories is what makes the ending of this book intriguing. How Ogawa is able to weave all these stories together. Whether it is a single thread that is mentioned in the next story or a story about a book it is done seamlessly. The pacing of each of the stories are perfect and leaves you wanting more.
What I didn’t like: There wasn’t anything that I didn’t like.
Star Rating: 4.5 stars
My Thoughts: The books I have read this month really highlight why women in translation month is so important. If these books hadn’t been translated I wouldn’t have been able to read them. I would have missed out on these stories. Everyone who has read these would have missed out on these stories. These heartbreaking and hard stories. These stories that were written by women in different parts of the world in different stages of life and work. I want to also thank my wonderful public library for having these books available.
When I started my journey into Women in translation month I knew there were going to be some questions that would pop up as I read. I have questions lots of questions. These amazing book is marketed as horror but as I read I would defiantly say it is more speculative fiction but there are truly some real life horror elements in this book. The End of Days also made me think about choices in life and where they take you.
Synopsis: Story of a women’s five lives. How small things can effect a women’s life.
What I liked: I loved this entire book. Erpenbeck is ridiculously talented. She is able to take multiple POVs and multiple story lines and weave them together with such brilliancy. The book is broken up into 5 smaller novellas with explanations between them. The writing is heart breaking at times and infuriating at times. But mostly heart breaking. Each book has real life horror elements woven into the story. Erpenbeck also leads you into a history lesson of sorts.
What I didn’t like: Why it took me so long to find out about this amazing book.
Star Rating: 5 Stars
My Thoughts: This book is the exact reason why we need more translated books. It is beautiful, heartbreaking and scary. I wish I had read this book so much sooner then I had. I want to push this into everyone’s hands and make them read it. After I got done reading it I was wondering why this it is marketed as horror. However, it makes me wonder about what constitutes horror in other countries. Is it just the difference in cultures etc. this one book has made me really curious as to horror in different cultures.
August is women in translation month. If by reading my blog you haven’t guessed that I read so many different things. Women authors are a particular passion of mine. Especially, women in horror authors. To know that there are so many stories out there that I haven’t read and authors that I know nothing about makes me feel like I am missing out. In researching an article for the LOHF, I found that we really are missing out on a ridiculous amount of stories.
Synopsis: A collection of short horror stories.
What I liked: I think that each story gives you a small glimpse into some of the political and social unrest in Argentina wrapped in horror stories. The stories aren’t particularly gory. But personally, I think that is more horror in the everyday that is discussed in each of the stories. There is so much to the backstories where the stories are taking place that I was very glad there was information about the landscape in Argentina while the author was growing up.
What I didn’t Like: Some of the stories where a bit too short and I wanted a bit more. It seemed as though they were cut off short and some seemed to run too long without enough meat in the story.
Star Rating: 3.5
My Thoughts: I am going to be changing the way I approach a translated work. I was reading an article about the amount of translated works that are being published in the US. I am approaching this as the content of the story not the translation itself. What I found in reading about translations, there are things that