"The Beauty" Book Review
Written by Jennifer Turner
Published by Titan Books
Written by Aliya Whiteley
2018, 288 pages, Fiction
Released on January 16th, 2018
The Beauty is a very interesting and thought-provoking novel that honestly deals with gender roles while still maintaining a horror element.
The plot centers on a colony of men who live isolated from the world around them, all the women having died previously of an unnamed illness. Nathan, the story's narrator, discovers strange mushrooms growing upon the resting places of the lost women.
It is soon revealed that the mushrooms have taken shape into women like creatures known to the men as The Beauties. The Beauties pair off with the men with or without their consent, with the men taking on more female roles, including having the babies.
What I like most about this story is the subtle representation of the way traditional gender roles are evolving and society's reaction to them. In the novel, the younger men are more comfortable accepting their new roles while the older guard looks upon them with horror.
Despite having a social conscience, The Beauty also keeps well with its horror elements. The descriptions of these malleable yet dangerous creatures sent a chill up my spine when I read them. And this story is aptly named; every inch of this tale is darkly beautiful and haunting.
In addition to this novel is a short story called Peace Pipe; I'm not as in love with it as I am with the The Beauty. It is hard to read and even harder to understand, as it often rambles and bounces from one idea to another. I read it twice and still can't quite figure it out. The plot, what little there is, follows a man who, while in quarantine after visiting an alien planet, develops a symbolic friendship with the pipe in the walls. At least that's what I could figure out; I could be wrong, but it is a confusing read nonetheless.
I'd suggest skipping Peace Pipe, but definitely read The Beauty, as I consider it an amazing piece.