This is my review of a very interesting book that has been made into a film - the author is also unusual in his history and present location.
We are familiar with serial killers, usually males, preying upon unfortunate and innocent females. This book, which has been made into a motion picture starring Scarlet Johansson, reverses this – and how. The heroine, Isserley – if it is in any way appropriate a description of the major character – is at least a female, of sorts, who is a serial hunter of males. As we journey into this distinctly strange odyssey, we discover by degrees that when Isserley describes a male or a female as human she means something quite different to what you and I might mean by the term. She includes herself, of course, and her male companions who work the “farm”. But human in her orbit involves fur, very large eyes and a balancing tail, embodiments that distinguish her and her fellow species from the “animals” she hunts. I guess that you are beginning to get the picture. Her prey are also distinguished by being exclusively male and chosen for their “meatiness”. She has some even more endearing qualities. She is hardworking to an irritating fault – and she is also very proficient at her job. Add to the melange, her suffering. This unfortunate female has been compelled to undergo extensive cosmetic surgery to make her more attractive to the male – not her fellow species males, but the male of the hunted species. This latter is the least thought out part of her disguise – and the author’s construction – and, frankly, neither she, nor the author’s construction, wouldn’t convince an inebriated bagman after two or three bottles of hard liquor of her supposed attractiveness. Even the most stupid male of the species knows a woman when he sees her. This is ameliorated by the fact that the author has quite a different and deeper theme. It would be a spoiler to explain this, so I won’t.
It’s a first novel, so perhaps we should make allowances. I can’t say that I enjoyed reading this book. On the contrary it provoked disquiet, horror – while also being eerily readable for all that. Although the narrative is somewhat variable in terms of literary quality, and there were oversimplifications that I intensely disliked, I can’t but admire the deeper theme, and the haunting quality by which this beguiles the reader. Indeed this makes it compulsively readable – as I would expect the film will also prove to be.