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Woman, Horror

A recommended reading list by the author of new novel Possessed.

Book Cover Possessed

My book Possessed is a story of one woman’s obsessive love affair, mental illness, travel and sex. The Globe and Mail review says, the book “provocatively embraces Camus, and blends Gothic horror elements,” and I’m not mad at that description. My character by all accounts is a complicated woman, a bit of an antiheroine if you will. And the day before the book was published I had received a letter from a lawyer written on behalf of an ex who threatened to sue for defamation. I suppose I evoke strong feelings on and off-field.

Here are six atmospheric books that do similar things. The unifying theme is Woman, Horror.

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Book Cover Little Sister

Little Sister, by Barbara Gowdy

The premise: Rose runs her family cinema (in my mind based on Revue in Roncesvalles) emailing with patrons, taking care of her mother with dementia and experiencing bizarre episodes where she suddenly finds herself inhibiting a body of another woman, Harriett, who is much more sexually liberated and in the midst of an affair (Rose is in a less satisfying relationship with an older man). I loved this book, it was told in Gowdy’s signature elegant heartfull prose, tender and dark, and funny. Gowdy is a sorceress—despite its wacky premise I was completely convinced the story was true.

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Book Cover Lullabies for Little Criminals

Lullabies for Little Criminals, by Heather O’Neil

O’Neil has gone on to publish many more successful books after her stunning debut, but fall is for rereading so do it with me as I re-immerse myself in this now Canadian classic story of a 12-year-old girl, Baby, being (sorta) raised by her heroin-addicted, aimless single father in Montreal. A brilliant and tender portrayal of a girl moving between child and adult world and all of its trappings.

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Book Cover Mooncalves

Mooncalves, by Victoria Hetherington

Creepy, sexy and original, Mooncalves, was one of those books that grabbed me by the throat and wouldn’t let go until it got to stuff a dead bird in my mouth and made me a disciple (of Hetherington). Probably one of the most convincing and shocking portrayals of how a cult comes about, but also a story of a female friendship, love and heartbreak. Also, there are robots (but it totally works!).

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Book Cover Modern Whore

Modern Whore, by Andrea Werhun

This book is everything: a memoir, a Playboy and pin-up calendar (with gorgeous photography by Nicole Bazuin), and a feminist treatise that talks about one woman’s experience as a sex worker. Heartbreaking and funny, whip-smart and unapologetic, this is a book that is more than just a glimpse into the world of sex for money as its anti-heroine heroine tells the story in an engaging page-turning style accompanied by kaleidoscopically coloured erotic pictures and creating the impression that we’ve achieved a special kind of intimacy with her. We haven’t, she’s just really good at what she does. 

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Book Cover Lake Crescent

Lake Crescent, by J.J. Dupuis

Set in coastal Newfoundland, Lake Crescent is a haunting novel about what lies beneath the calm surface of a remote lake and the village surrounding it. A TV documentary crew arrive to film a program about the giant eel, that according to local folklore, has lived in the lake for generations. What they find is the body of a young woman, a lost soul who had drifted into town years earlier in search of that peaceful, simple life Atlantic Canada promises on post cards. I think the cold, isolated setting with its murky waters make this story of obsession, love and greed, a great dark book to read this time of year.

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Book Cover Kuntalini

Kuntalini, by Tamara Faith-Berger

If ass and vagina collaborated on a book together, this is the book they would come up with and I say that with utmost respect. I’m a huge fan of Faith-Berger, her writing is something beyond writing, I think when she writes she simply exists in another dimension to create the sort of fiction she creates. In the simplest terms, Kuntalini tells a story of sexual awakening but it’s a lot more than that. Some people said it was smut, I say it’s more than just smut—it’s poetry. Read it: it will repulse you, turn you on, but above all, surprise you.

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Book Cover Possessed

Learn more about Possessed:

Josephine is obsessed. Or possessed—by unrequited love for a younger man who doesn’t promise anything, but who gives her a taste of intimacy that puts her on the brink of losing her mind. Oscillating between her elusive lover and her older former partner, stuck in the hell that is working in a cubicle, and obliged to tend to her destructive, senile mother, Josephine is trapped.

After a work assignment promises to deliver distraction, Josephine makes a decision to visit a former quarantine island in the Adriatic Sea, where she meets an enigmatic, beautiful man with a haunting story. Intimate and erotic, Possessed is a dark and funny story exploring sexual obsession, mental illness, and the supernatural.

  

 

 

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