Addiction Is a Family Matter: A Review of Rose Andersen’s “The Heart and Other Monsters”

"The Heart and Other Monsters" cover


The United States’ opioid epidemic continues to cost tens of thousands of Americans their lives each year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that nearly 450,000 Americans died of overdoses involving opioids between 1999 and 2018, with more than 46,000 of those deaths occurring in 2018 alone. The crisis has personally impacted Rose Andersen, whose debut memoir The Heart and Other Monsters sorts through the past to better understand the life of her younger sister Sarah, who suffered a fatal drug overdose in 2013, when she was twenty-four. At the onset of this story, we are provided a disclaimer: Some of the events in this memoir have been fictionalized, imagined by the author in instances where she was not physically present to witness what actually happened. The invented scenes pertain to the nature of Sarah’s death; while Sarah was indeed a drug addict who died of an overdose, Andersen has reason to believe she was murdered, and in this book, she lays out the case. 

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A Very Massachusetts Apocalypse: On Paul Tremblay’s “Survivor Song”

"Survivor Song" cover

Paul Tremblay’s Survivor Song is a prescient novel that is being published at the perfect time. In fact, it so timely that I almost feel like every reviewer should remind readers that writing a novel, editing it, sending it to an agent, selling it, and then editing it again is a long process, so when they read this and think “Wow, this is ridiculously prophetic!” they need to remember that Tremblay wrote it way before the current pandemic. 

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Excursions Into the Bizarre: A Review of Kathe Koja’s “Velocities”

"Velocities" cover

My first encounter with Kathe Koja came via the novels published by the surreal horror imprint Dell Abyss in the 1990s. The Cipher and Bad Brains were profoundly unsettling works on their own, as well as memorably serving as proof of concept for a more unsettling strain of horror that opted less for scares than for dread. Since then, Koja’s milieu has only expanded; with books like Under the Poppy, she’s displayed a penchant for forays into history, and her body of work also involves an extended commitment to theater.

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