Friday, 7 October 2016

Review: The Beauty by Aliya Whiteley

Title: The Beauty
Author: Aliya Whiteley
Publisher:  Unsung Stories
Pages: 112
Genres: Horror

Somewhere away from the cities and towns, a group of men and boys gather around the fire each night to listen to their stories in the Valley of the Rocks. For when the women are all gone the rest of your life is all there is for everyone. The men are waiting to pass into the night.

The story shall be told to preserve the past. History has gone back to its aural roots and the power of words is strong. Meet Nate, the storyteller, and the new secrets he brings back from the woods. William rules the group with youth and strength, but how long can that last? And what about Uncle Ted, who spends so much time out in the woods?

Hear the tales, watch a myth be formed. For what can man hope to achieve in a world without women? When the past is only grief how long should you hold on to it? What secrets can the forest offer to change it all?

Discover the Beauty.
And the prize for the most bizarre and gross book I've ever read goes to The Beauty. It is a short novella chronicling some future event where all of the women worldwide are dying from disgusting fungal infections resulting in yellow mushrooms sprouting from their corpses. Now I hate mushrooms in general, and I don't understand why they are even a food as they are gross tasting IMO. Well I hate them even more now thanks to this weird little book.

I don't want to spoil anything but I will say that the men left behind are fairly lost without their women, and perhaps unsurprisingly they start to have intimate relations with each other. The human race is doomed, unable to breed or adapt to this new desolate future... or is it? Just when I thought the story could not get any weirder, it does. It goes to places that made me feel physically sick and yet I was really confused at the same time.

The prose is my favourite thing about The Beauty. It is so lyrical, so beautiful to read that I am not sure I would have continued otherwise. I feel like this little novella had so much to say about gender, gender roles, evolution - it was all a bit lost on me I'm afraid. The Beauty would suit readers who like the grotesque or experimental stories. Unfortunately it was just a bit too 'out there' for me.

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