The Wingspan Of Severed Hands: Joanna Koch
Reviewed By Steve Stred
Joanna has written a book, so far up on a different plain, they have completely baffled me and destroyed me.
Last year I read Joanna’s fantastic ‘The Couvade.’ When I saw this announced, I was beyond intrigued. The amazing Don Noble artwork, the stunning title and the brief synopsis saying this was inspired by a Brother’s Grimm tale.
Little did I know, I was about to wade into a pool that had a riptide waiting to pull me under.
What I liked: The story is about metamorphosis and transformation. We follow two (maybe three?) narratives that intertwine themselves between stories. We open up with a female being forced to marry a boy she’s had pre-marital sex with. She begins to sense something is off and when they have an argument, a figure emerges to devour the boy. But it’s too late, the damage has been done, amputation has occurred and from there Joanna decides to let the story go all Pete Tong and the floodgates open.
Between the sci-fi narrative, the biblical allegory (again, I may be off base here due to IQ limitations!) and the various relationship plots, Koch has really delivered a gem and one that will have readers baffled and blindsided over and over again.
The writing here is stellar. Reading Koch reminds me of reading SJ Budd. Authors working on an entirely different playing field than anyone else. Sublime, pristine and delicate. Koch uses descriptions as both emotional points but also ruthless carnage and as this wrapped up, I was out of breath and felt as though I’d soiled myself.
Just phenomenal work here.
What I didn’t like: Even though I’m being a bit hard on myself with saying I’m not intelligent enough, I think this book may very well intimidate some readers. For those worried about it, I’d suggest to plan on reading this with purpose and intent, to take their time and savor every drop of larva fluid that Koch leaks onto the pages.
Why you should buy this: I think this book should cement Koch as one of the very best in literary-speculative fiction. This book touches on a number of sub-genres, but at its core, they’ve crafted a book that will absolutely unnerve the reader and create a number of questions that you’ll want to take the time and try to answer.
I loved this book and found it really worked itself into my mind when I wasn’t reading it.
Top-notch stuff, from one of the best out there.
The Wingspan Of Severed Hands
Three Women, One Battle
A world gone mad. Cities abandoned. Dreams invade waking minds. An invisible threat lures those who oppose its otherworldly violence to become acolytes of a nameless cult. As a teenage girl struggles for autonomy, a female weapons director in a secret research facility develops a living neuro-cognitive device that explodes into self-awareness. Discovering their hidden emotional bonds, all three unveil a common enemy through dissonant realities that intertwine in a cosmic battle across hallucinatory dreamscapes.
Time is the winning predator, and every moment spirals deeper into the heart of the beast.
Steve Stred is the author of a number of novels, novellas and collections. He has appeared in anthologies with some of Horror’s heaviest hitters.
He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada with his wife, son and their dog OJ.
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