I have been putting off reviewing this book for so long because I’ve never been intimidated by a book in my life as much as I have been by this one. Coincidentally, I’ve never been so ambivalent. It’s artistic, vulgar, visceral, and beautiful. I like my books with a bit of edge, and this one was spiky all over.
The first thing I want to point out is the cover. It’s odd in a captivating way. I’m personally not a fan of faces on book covers unless they’re somewhat distorted, and this one is the best I’ve seen since Black Gum, and that wasn’t the first comparison I drew between the two books.
Heathenish and Black Gum follow pretty much the same plot, but they taste differently. I’d like to think of both protagonists as the same person from a parallel universe.
The language in which Heathenish is written is a great reflection of the book and its characters. It’s not linear, not conventional, often confusing, and it knew what it’s doing and did it well. The first few pages were a challenge to get through, I won’t lie, but every reader needs to be challenged every now and again.
Great book, even for those who, like myself, don’t consider this their go-to genre.