> Book Review - Star Shapes by Ivy Grimes - SNACK: Music, film, arts and culture magazine for Scotland

Book Review – Star Shapes by Ivy Grimes

‘A punchy, creepy story that makes even the simplest of objects feel unwelcoming and freakishly celestial.’

Originally from Birmingham, Alabama, writer Ivy Grimes’ recent novella Star Shapes (illustrated by Alana Baldwin) packs a short yet ominous punch, studded with haunting, snappy prose and darkly funny illuminations on faith and belief, life philosophies, and family.

Staged around a strange daylight kidnapping catalysed by a small child, Star Shapes sees the protagonist drawn into the fold of an odd country family who, instead of hurting or abusing her, ask her to complete a series of peculiar lessons and tests that seem sensible only to them.

Grimes crafts a curiously suffocating environment full of American Gothic charm and dustiness – wide, empty fields carrying houses that seem almost nonexistent due to their isolation; lonely snakes in need of feeding – and allows the novella to shift in emotional tone with each page. Increasingly unsettled by herself and those around her, our protagonist finds herself pulled between fear and irritation, intrigue and disgust, frustration and defeat, until she doesn’t know who she is, why she’s there – or what the family truly wants.

A curious, easy-to-read tale, Star Shapes confronts the dilemmas that arise when religiosity, faith, grief, and the family unit are knit too closely together, weaving a story that, although brief, allows each character to develop an individual voice with promise. A punchy, creepy story that makes even the simplest of objects feel unwelcoming and freakishly celestial.

Star Shapes is published by Spooky House Press

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