cover image A Study in Ugliness & Outras Histórias

A Study in Ugliness & Outras Histórias

H. Pueyo. Lethe, $20 trade paper (250p) ISBN 978-1-59021-601-9

The 10 eerie tales of Pueyo’s striking debut collection all appear side by side in English and Portuguese, honoring the author’s multicultural heritage. Many of these stories thin the veil between the living and the dead: in “The Memory-Eater,” a nameless man absorbs the memories of spirits to allow them to move on to a peaceful afterlife, while “An Open Coffin” follows a young woman who is hired by an allusive, wealthy man to care for a corpse on display in his home. As devoted mourners pour in and out to visit the body, the ritualistic nature of their visits begins to unnerve the caretaker, leading her to turn to the corpse itself for guidance. Other tales explore the very nature of reality: in the eponymous story, the daily routine of a bullied queer student named Basília is disrupted by the appearance of a new classmate who everyone else remembers as having always been there—and who harbors a dark and fascinating secret. As haunting as it is thought-provoking, this impressive collection will especially appeal to fans of Carmen Maria Machado. (Oct.)