Thursday, February 14, 2013

Book 9: A Plague of Wolves and Women

Reading this was like really rough sex. While it is mostly outstanding, there are moments where I wondered if those marks are going to be permanent or at least how long they'd be visible. Riley Michael Parker delivers a horrifying tale told in 2-3 page koans reflecting on the experience of a boy in a cursed village of indeterminate time or place. The violence is real and shocking at times, but the narration, effectively first person with an almost worldly matter of fact retelling that is vital in not allowing the often gruesome details to become torture porn, Parker somehow manages to bring a heaping amount of poignancy through the little kindnesses and smiles. It is dense and extremely complex, sad, and terrifying all at once. This book is in many ways indescribable. I cannot recommend it to anyone but I found it absolutely amazing. Strangely, I let my mother read it, who also loved it not despite the horribleness, but because of it. Parker kept the book very short (less than 100 pages), a good decision as the subject matter wouldn't hold up to much more. There's a not so subtle satirical element here as well. Hunger Games and it's ilk where violence against children is presented in fairly weak and disposable thematic environment while masquerading as young adult fiction gets it's comeuppance. In Parker's world, violence isn't pretty, the motivations aren't rational, and there are no banquets or celebrations for the survivors. It is grim business and finding virtue despite it is what Parker goes for. This is a love or hate book. You'll either find yourself sucked in very quickly, examining your own like for the book or you'll put it down after a few pages. I finished this in a day and was mesmerized the entire time>

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