A pitch-black comedy about a serial killer.
Winner, Indigenous Voices Award for French fiction
A chilling justification of a life of violence, as nonchalant as it is grim.
The true horror in Of Vengeance lies in Kurtness’s ability to sway you to the protagonist’s side; more than once, I caught myself wholeheartedly agreeing with her worldview.
Kurtness writes smoothly, but the black humor won’t be to every taste. Readers into passive-aggressive fantasies will best appreciate this one.
Let’s be honest: Who hasn’t fantasized about shooting someone in the face with a hunting rifle? It doesn’t matter why. In the heat of the moment, one reason’s as good as the next. When the reasons still seem good after enough time has passed, I take action.
I just don’t look the part. My face should be angular, striking, and slender, with that sickly pallor certain men find irresistible. But the allure of the mysterious femme fatale, that image we’re bombarded with day in and day out, just isn’t me. I’m fresh-faced, with the most innocuous features imaginable. I emanate innocence and wholesome pleasures, like farmers’ daughters advertising milk or girls on the packaging of anti-acne medication. Just like them, my pores breathe healthily. I have slightly rounded features, a ready smile, straight teeth, and smiling eyes. Even the beginnings of crow’s feet, if you look closely. My pale skin turns rosy in the wind, or in the cold, or when I exert myself. My cheeks are like scrumptious fall apples. People have been saying it since I was a little girl. All the hours I spend outside, plus these freckles: How could anyone imagine I’m not an exemplary young woman?
Invisibility is an art, a science, a way of life. There’s nothing magic about what I do. It’s basic psychology: know your environment. No one notices the people they see every day. Ordinary things don’t make it through our mental filter. You also have to strike the perfect balance between pretty and ugly. People are fascinated by either end of the spectrum, which triggers a red light in their minds. I don’t want to leave a scar in anyone’s memory.
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