Comfort Me With Apples by Catherynne M. Valente 


What can I say.  I’m literally a little (okay a lot) puzzled about how to start or form this review in fact I’ve been sitting looking at a blank screen for some time just figuring out what to write.  The long and the short of it is that I loved this.  It’s actually rather brilliant and the only reason I’m really perplexed as to what to put in this review is that I don’t want to give away spoilers. This is a strange tale that is strangely compelling.  I had no idea what to expect and yet it managed to defy any expectations that my subconscious had secretly formed and it’s the sort of book that makes you want to read it again, and probably again after that, I mean a fourth read would probably help to pick up those few pesky clues you missed in your haste to reach the end.

Firstly, I think that any book that makes me go away and try to discover more about whatever the heck is going on within its pages is a winner for me. I like books that make me think and this is definitely one of those books.  Don’t get me wrong, the only reason I go away to look for answers is I’m ridiculously curious and I like to check out the origins and meanings of certain things – this is a personal thing – and happily there were a number of things here that I had to go away and look up. Colour me happy.

Secondly, for such a short book (which, conversely, is not usually my thing) this packs one heck of a punch.  I mean, it really made me sit up and pay attention.

Thirdly, I love this author’s writing.  She has been blessed by the God of Books with the power of words.  I swear she must have her very own muse. Everything in this book is meaningful.  There is literally nothing wasted amongst these pages and yet you could read this story completely differently from the next person who picks it up. The beauty is that, on the face of it, it’s simply a mystery (with a little pinch of horror thrown in for good measure) – and you could read it as such and go away very happy – because that ending!  There are hints of The Stepford Wives, I was thinking Bluebeard – surprisingly just about everything but the true origins of this one sprung into my tiny brain at one point or another.  There are delicious flavours of fairytale and something sinister that constantly nibbles away at the back of your mind firing you up into a hot mess and making you devour the pages in one sitting.

The real stunner about this book is it certainly isn’t a new or unfamiliar story and yet it had me guessing throughout, leading me down rabbit holes, casting out lines and reeling in red herrings.  I was absolutely intrigued – to the max.

Anyway, I’m going to end this review here. I don’t want to talk about the plot, the characters or the setting.  You can discover all these for yourselves.  I suppose this might not be everyone’s cup of tea, it is a little unusual but to be honest, given the length, give it a try and see if it grabs you – I think it will.  At the very least it will give you food for thought.  The other thing I would say is pay attention to everything,  I mentioned below that Valente is a wordsmith and that is evidenced here by the bucket load – everything here is relevant so don’t skip anything.  All will eventually be revealed.

Apologies that this is such a tease but I think it’s for the best.

I received a copy through Netgalley, courtesy of the publishers, for which my thanks.  The above is my own opinion.

My rating 5 stars