I love a short story collection that shows cohesion even though the stories are all distinctly separate, living in their own dark worlds. DeMeester's short tales have that kind of versatility, where they are interested in unpacking similar themes but never follow the same fanged rabbit down the same twisted hole twice.
Many of these stories, some just a page or two, some closer to twenty pages, center around the idea of transformation, of the liminal quality of the body and the different ways it might be consumed, broken, corrupted, or altered. Sometimes this is a triumphant change, sometimes it is unwanted.
That liminality, that disorienting threshold to transformation that DeMeester has mastered in these stories, often seemed a metaphor for how women's bodies and selves are not quite theirs to inhabit but rather the world's to use or enact violence upon. Here, women take control, becoming the ones who inhabit, who consume, who enact violence.
I loved the intense darkness of the stories and the startling (though strangely beautiful) descriptions of body horror were quite effective. The book is not overtly terrifying, but is unsettling and carries a certain dread that weighs you down as you read—very intense and wonderful.
I definitely recommend this unique collection. I can't wait to read her novel, Beneath!
Associate editor, amateur photdographer, bibliophile, and occasional sleuth.