Perfect places breed hideous crimes – that’s my understanding at least.
If you like The Twilight Zone, Black Mirror, or Twin Peaks (or anything by David Lynch) then you’ll get a kick out of Catherynne M. Valente’s Comfort Me with Apples.
Despite being a novella of less than 130 pages, it crams in everything from the whole rotten tradition of awful things – from the book of Genesis, via fairytales and the Gothic, all the way up to the most cutting-edge dystopian sci-fi. This tiny tale of a perfect small town and a perfect marriage, all undercut with the sour tang of wrongness.
Catherynne talks in detail about the various strands that she has knotted together into this story. We cover religion and the potential for evil within, Disney towns and cartoon police, and we discuss why Bluebeard and his locked cellar door is such a key and recurrent trope in domestic horror.
And, as ever, I take the chance to go off on a frothing political rant.
Comfort Me with Apples is published by Tor on November 9th
Check out Mark Kermode’s rant about the movie Entourage – to prepare for the Hallowe’en special.
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