The Invisible Thing that Stalks Us – The Wingspan of Severed Hands by Joanna Koch (warning: spoilers)

Smiling Sisyphus

It’s hard to describe Joanna Koch’s new book. There is an almost impressionistic quality to it. Dreamlike, poetic. Operating on multiple layers most of the time. It’s cosmic horror as I’ve never encountered it before. And I feel like they have captured something in a way I’ve never seen it captured in fiction, the truly ineffable. Not just describing something that defies description, but capturing that borderland where our understanding and language fail us, drop off into an abyss and leave us scrambling to make sense of what we see and feel.

As someone recovering from the horrors of an evangelical upbringing, I see the echoes of that here. A steady diet of shame and betrayal by those who are supposed to protect you. There is a recurring theme of having one’s agency forcefully taken away. Of being literally taken apart and consumed. And then there is what comes after…

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Published by: Joe

Joanna Koch writes literary horror and surrealist trash. A Shirley Jackson Award finalist, Joe is the author of The Wingspan of Severed Hands, The Couvade, and over fifty short stories in anthologies and journals. Find Joe on Twitter @horrorsong. He/They/Joe.

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