A Certain Hunger

Unnamed Pr. Dec. 2020. 240p. ISBN 9781951213145. $26. F ;.
DEBUT Presented as a prison memoir, this tale is narrated by the funny and astute Dorothy Daniels, a food critic who just happens to be an unrepentant cannibalistic serial killer. (Please don’t call her a mass murderer, as “mass murder is to serial killing as McDonald’s is to Peter Luger’s.”) A slave to her appetites, Dorothy recalls Hannibal Lecter in her sophistication and refinement. A sensual being, she is descriptive and exacting in her depictions of both sex and food. Ever clear-eyed, she sees the large-scale butcher operation of her Italian boyfriend for what it is, “a carefully planned organization bent on the extermination of animals for our gastronomical pleasure”; understanding that others choose to look away, she obfuscates the uncomfortable truths into an award-winning magazine profile (before killing and eating him). The psychopathic, darkly feminist antihero can be viewed as a big middle finger to the common practice of judging a female protagonist on her “likability” or “relatability.”
VERDICT You won’t soon forget Dorothy or her delicious insights, but fair warning: This book might turn you into a vegetarian, if you aren’t already. (Though as Dorothy herself acknowledges, “It’s surprisingly easy to overcome moral qualms, if you give in to the appetite.”)
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