“Come for the wide-ranging plot, stay for the atmosphere.
Spun from grotesque body horror, Vietnamese folklore, magical realism, and revenge, this book is a whirlwind of fragmented narratives slowly coming together. It is not an easy read or for the faint of heart; there are dozens of characters, a generational history of trauma, multiple timelines written achronologically, and the overall unease of determining real from not-real.
Kupersmith has given us a gorgeously written, absolutely bizarre, and unnerving puzzle of a book whose pieces have malleable edges until the end.”
Over the course of the novel, the fates of three women will lock together in an exhilarating series of nested narratives. Along the way, we meet a young boy sent to a boarding school in the mountains for the métis children of French expatriates just before Vietnam declares its independence from colonial rule in 1945; two Frenchmen trying to start a business with the Vietnam War on the horizon; and the employees of the Saigon Spirit Eradication Co., called to investigate strange occurrences in a farmhouse on the edge of a forest. Each new character and timeline brings us one step closer to understanding what binds the three women together.
CW: sexual assault