Sharp & Sugar Tooth. Edited by Octavia Cate
Book Review by Diane Lawton
Published 26 Mar 2019 by Upper Rubber Boot Books Independent Book Publishers Association.
All 22 short stories collated for this ‘women up to no good series’ are well-written works of fiction. The book is the winner of 13 awards and shortlisted for 3. I cannot fault the writing. Each author deserves recognition.
Octavia Cade, the editor, has pulled together a pack of writers whose brief was to write about the sweet and the sour, the mouth-watering, the edible, the dark and dirty side of the pleasures of eating, chopping, cooking, and consumption of anything and anyone. Some readers might care about these topics, or are daring readers of the dark and different.
Every story highlights the bite-able, chop-up-able, lick-able, poison-able and obsession-able. Knives and stakes are sharpened, people are tortured, sliced and consumed on a regular basis for the merest of reasons. Cannibalism, horror, sex, and eating, sit side by side.
One story sums up the genre. Gimme Sugar by Katharine Duckett. A woman in a bar shares her confession of the unbearable loss of love. It all seems fairly normal until she tells a stranger about a possible cure. The cure takes them into a dark fantasy world of pastries and sweet things. Her ex-lover is recreated into a life-size gingerbread model, which then gorges herself on out of her romantic delusion. The stranger begs to be taken to this place as a form of absolution for a wife who ditched him and yet he is still obsessed with.
I found the content of women and their obsessions with food, consumption, pleasure, fetish, and addictions with people fascinating.
However, these works took it too close to the dark edges of insanity, for me. I could imagine psychiatric wards containing people who think these thoughts and they are driven mad by it. I could imagine a commuter train filled with a batch of people who might consider cannibalism. Most stories are creepy and at times my stomach churned uncomfortably. I could not finish reading it.
I received this complimentary book via Net Galley and chose to review it due to its obsession with food and consumption. The review is my own, honest opinion.