Fit for Consumption

Lethe Pr. Oct. 2021. 194p. ISBN 9781590212257. pap. $15. HORROR
Appetite is everything in Berman’s (Lambda Literary Award winner for His Seed) lush collection of dark queer tales that map the territory between a body that craves and the one it hungers for. It’s a wide-ranging offering of stories, from flamboyant tales that bring to mind Poe and Lovecraft, to quieter, introspective ones that feel piercingly autobiographical. In each, desire is the engine that propels Berman’s protagonists into shadowy corners of their worlds and themselves. Berman doesn’t shy away from centering queer sexuality, and that is to the collection’s credit. It’s great to see queer characters unashamedly seeking pleasure and living wholly in their bodies. In the collection’s standout stories (“His Mouth Will Taste of Chernobyl” and “Unwelcome Boys” foremost), queer desire is also an ache, and there’s a sadness that comes with wanting. It’s in these stories that Berman finds a warmth in the weirdness, and it makes this collection a satisfying entrée.
VERDICT Readers hungry for something dark and queer will find much to chew on in Berman’s bold collection.
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