Catherynne M. Valente gives readers an unexpected jaw-dropping delight with Comfort Me with Apples.
Comfort Me with Apples is a retelling. However, it is a retelling most unexpectedly. When I read the synopsis, I was convinced it was a retelling of Bluebeard. But it ended up being so much more than that. One part horror, one part fantasy, and one part thriller, Comfort Me with Apples, keeps the reader guessing.
Valente did such a fantastic job with the narrative. First, the rules regarding the association set up this eerie and disturbing atmosphere that unsettles the reader. From the very beginning, you know something is wrong with this community.
That atmosphere traps you in this community, eager to discover what is happening within the community. Then that line of “Everything is perfect” and the repetition of “she was made for him.” Something unsettling is happening in this community; something about this woman is off. You can see that the people are trying to tell her something.
And the writing, the subtle references that come alive the more you read. Page after page, the reader sees what kind of retelling it is. A little Bluebeard, but there’s more to it. And I can’t say because the revelation to that is mind-blowing.
Valente is incredible with their language and their use of subtext. The double entendres are excellent; they catch the reader off guard. The horror elements, the way the story is able to be a horror and a fantasy and a thriller all at the same time effortlessly remarks on how good of a writer Valente is.
Valente keeps the reader guessing from beginning to end in this incredible novella. From every direction, the story is impressive, and when the reader realizes just what kind of retelling it is, their mind will be blown.
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|Pub Date: November 9, 2021||Page Count: 112pp||Age Range: 15 & Over|
|ISBN: 978-1-2508-1621-4||Publisher: Tordotcom||List Price: $17.99|