Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Bob's book club: Nightbitch by Rachel Yoder

* Spoilers for the ending of Nightbitch by Rachel Yoder

My regular one person book club is still a thing, and the novels I grab at random at the start of each month are still pretty fucking rewarding. 

I got the usual temporal kicks from This Is How You Win The Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone, only to discover two days after I finished it that everybody else in the world had already read it; I really enjoyed the use of character perspectives in Rumaan Alam's Leave The World Behind; and thought the delicate structure and very Australian humour of Everyone In My Family Has Killed Someone by Benjamin Stevenson was outstanding.

In my relentless bid to find things outside my usual comfort zone, I've also found myself following weird trends, and have been reading multiple books about women going through emotional dilemmas that have strange elements of supernatural shapeshifting. I got Bunny by Mona Awad because it looked like a Heathers-type thing, and then became something else entirely and tapped into some very modern themes of alienation and creating artifical personalities and people, while also having a couple of cracking twists.

But my favourite random novel of the past six months is easily Rachel Yoder's Nightbitch, which I thought was tremendous.

It's an outrageously funny book - the part with the squirrel chase is the funniest thing I've read in a long time - and it might be about a woman who is turning into a dog, or might just be going howlingly mad, and it really doesn't matter, because she's growing weird hairs and digging up rotting rabbits in the back garden either way.

But the thing I appreciated most is that the main character's journey into doggydom feels like it is going to end with an admonishment, or some kind of punishment or humiliation for the main character, and it just doesn't do that at all. I've become so used to books making moral stands, no matter how oblique, and to get one that says that this all this weird shit is fine, and it all works out for the best, is actually refreshing.

Maybe I'm just a sucker for a happy ending.

No comments: