Jeff VanderMeer, the author of Annihilation, talked to Electric Literature about his favourite books read in 2015. I’m super flattered that he included Broken Monsters. It’s an epic monster of a list and also features books from Rachel Kushner, Joanna Walsh, and Cesar Aira.
Out in trade paperback this year, Broken Monsters is a tour de force of disparate voices, in the way that Beukes conjures up such a wide range of characters and makes them real, immediate, and believable. Set in Detroit, the novel trades off of a deceptively familiar serial killer set-up to reach deeper and wider territory. Not only is the antagonist unique and well-rendered, but the crimes have an odd, spooky (if terrible) integrity that compares favorably to the best moments on the television show Hannibal. But Beukes isn’t interested in spectacle, although she does spectacle well. The novel also comments in interesting ways on the nature of art and the nature of our fragmented reality. And while the speculative and horrific elements are masterful, it’s the conjuring up of, for example, the complex voices of teenagers that makes Broken Monsters truly unique.
Thank you, Jeff! And thank you also to reader @tracy_reads79 for the beautiful photo featuring Broken Monsters in fantastic company.