Tuesday, May 17, 2022

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Book Review

Book Reviews


By Catherynne Valente
112 pages
Tor Books

‘Comfort Me with Apples’

This is not an easy book to review. The pervading, intensely creepy feeling established from the first page of this short novella never diminishes. In fact, it just grows and expands to new heights as the pages fly by. Nothing Catherynne Valente writes is ever simple, so I shouldn’t be surprised when she writes something that almost defies description.

Sophia is a perfect wife, with a perfect husband, in a perfect neighborhood. If you’re already getting Stepford Wives vibes, just wait. She knows something is off. She’s not allowed in the basement — ever. Her husband is often gone on mysterious errands. But everything is still perfect, right?

A strange, tangled blend of feminist fantasy and social commentary, this is the kind of book you consume very quickly but take days to really understand and appreciate. It’s a quick bite with a long, complex flavor and is highly recommended for anyone in need of something weird and wonderful. n 

— Review by Julie Goodrich

CNA - Stop HIV Iowa

By Nnedi Okorafor
224 pages
Daw Books


Nnedi Okorafor is a wonder. I’m always surprised by what she writes, and perhaps even more surprised by how many ways she finds to tear at my heart. This short, action-packed novel is speculative fiction at its finest. Compelling characters, fast-paced drama, wondrous settings and fascinating technology. 

AO is our protagonist. The letters stand for Artificial Organism,  an augmented woman with a number of disabilities and a strong sense of herself and her place in the world. All of that changes during a trip to the market that results in her becoming a fugitive in a race to survive.

Themes of corporate control, bodily autonomy, and how to fit into a society that doesn’t seem to have a place for anything that isn’t ‘normal’ intertwine in this short, impactful novella. It’s compellingly focused but with a much wider, global statement underneath the plot. I love a story with layers. Don’t miss this one. n 

— Review by Julie Goodrich

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