Camilla Grudova is not a writer for the classic ‘nice story,’ though her stylised prose might lure someone in with such a hope. In The Coiled Serpent, Grudova produces tales set in liminal places, turning the intimate into the queasy; all tales twisting to a tragic end.
In ‘Ivor’, a boarding school full of boys and men, who never leave no matter their age, fixate on the perfections of one particular ageless boy. It’s a fascinating story about obsession and British culture that culminates (as most Grudova stories do) with a wonderful and unsettling conclusion.
The titular story plays with masculinity and the many cultist ideas around it (perhaps Jordan Peterson and Andrew Tate fans might relate) as flatmates practise semen retention in hope of self-betterment and optimisation.
As with Grudova’s story ‘Cabbages’, published in Issue 2 of SNACK, there is a constant fascination with the disgust that food (and food-like items) can inflict: ‘wondrous big jellies, apples, mouldy cheese, jars of mint sauce and gherkins.’
Grudova’s writing continues to spark the oddest of considerations in readers, keeping us itching and on edge.
The Coiled Serpent is published by Atlantic Books