Cows

Matthew Stokoe, Akashic/Little House on the Bowery, $15.95 trade paper (188p) ISBN 978-1-936070-70-1
Do you like cows? Do you have even a tinge of faith in the goodness of man? If so, skip this relentlessly violent survey of some taboos you've heard of, and hopefully, a few new ones that would never occur to you. The novel follows 25-year-old Steven, who dwells in a faceless American city with his sadistic mother ("the Hagbeast"), his only friend a crippled dog named Dog. His life takes a dramatic turn when he takes a slaughterhouse job and is quickly initiated into the factory's bloody and darkly sexual brotherhood. Then he meets upstairs neighbor Lucy, who is obsessed with vivisection, and starts to believe there may be a ray of light in his otherwise nightmarish life, but what follows is a phantasmagoria of extreme violence, death, sex, bestiality, self-surgery, torture, and a really, really, really bad mother-son relationship, all of which takes what the marquis de Sade did and pushes it down the road a little farther. Stokoe is an able craftsman, which makes the content all the more horrifying as he blasts through boundaries and finds increasingly twisted ways of making readers squirm. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 11/08/2010
Release date: 01/01/2011
Genre: Fiction
Hardcover - 192 pages - 978-1-871592-39-9
Paperback - 188 pages - 978-1-84068-005-8
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