Friday Friyay: 'Nightbitch' by Rachel Yoder
One day, the mother was a mother but then, one night, she was quite suddenly something else...
At home full-time with her two-year-old son, an artist finds she is struggling. She is lonely and exhausted. She had imagined - what was it she had imagined? Her husband, always travelling for his work, calls her from faraway hotel rooms. One more toddler bedtime, and she fears she might lose her mind.
Instead, quite suddenly, she starts gaining things, surprising things that happen one night when her child will not sleep. Sharper canines. Strange new patches of hair. New appetites, new instincts. And from deep within herself, a new voice...
With its clear eyes on contemporary womanhood and sharp take on structures of power, Nightbitch is an outrageously original, joyfully subversive read that will make you want to howl in laughter and recognition. Addictive enough to be devoured in one sitting, this is an unforgettable novel from a blazing new talent.
Book Beginnings is at home on Rose City Reader, hosted by Gilion Dumas, and Friday 56 at Freda's Voice, hosted by Freda. I'll also be joining the Book Blog Hop, hosted by Billy over at Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer.
'When she had referred to herself as Nightbitch, she meant it as a good-natured, self-deprecating joke - because that's the sort of lady she was, a good sport, able to poke fun at herself, definitely not uptight, not wound really tight, not so freakishly tight that she couldn't see the humor in a light-hearted not-meant-as-an-insult situation - but in the days following this naming, she found the patch of coarse black hair sprouting from the base of her neck and was, like, What the fuck.' p.1
And that is just the opening line! I love the heaping up of things that happens here, the circular argument to not be wound too tight that just clenches everything more. There is also a recognition to the 'not-meant-as-an-insult' situation, I think most women will have that recognition. I also really like how human and normal the voice of "the mother" is.
'She could not comprehend her husband's great expertise with complex machinery yet complete inability to trouble-shoot their child.' p.56
While there is a jokey tone to this, this is very much not something light-hearted to "the mother", who has given up her own career and just, very much, wants to have a shower in this moment.
This week's question was suggested by Julie over at Jady Sky/Stepping Stones Book Reviews:
Are you more like to choose to read a book based on the synopsis, or the cover?
Great question! If I'm completely honest it is a combination of the two. Usually it is the cover that first draws my attention, as it is of course designed to. But then if the blurb doesn't match it, doesn't add anything new to keep my interest, then I will still put the book back down. Sometimes I do try to shop "blind" in bookstores, pick up things based on title, ignoring the cover design, and then seeing what the blurb has to offer.
This is actually the perfect chance to nag about a major gripe of mine that I swear has become worse of late. Why is the back of a book nowadays usually full of advanced praise, reviews, etc. instead of featuring the blurb? How am I supposed to know what a book is actually about? Am I supposed to divine this from the raving review from another author? So yeah, I find that increasingly annoying because while I'm a big fan of reading the first few pages while still in the bookstore, I would prefer to be able to read a blurb as well.
So, that's me! What are you reading? And how do you pick your reads?