Review posted originally to goodreads.com
I recently taught Tim Curran’s MONSTROSITY in a college-level introductory lit course — literally titled “Monstrosities.” The book exhibits Curran’s wildly playful imagination when set free and allowed to take inventive extremes. I don’t want to spoil any surprises, because this is a book where you begin to turn the pages dying to see what crazy creature will be unleashed next, and whether or not the author will be able to top the one you just read about, with your jaw on the floor. There are scenes in the book that will stick with me as truly frightening for a long time — two, especially (an early one where Frank gets stuck in, oh, let’s call it a hammock, and another one where the protagonist and his romantic interest get stuck in the equivalent of a house-sized Venus Fly Trap). The only weaknesses of this novel, really, are all about the plot: the action/adventure and rescue plots felt too simple and a bit predictable at times to me, but they allowed the monsters and the surprising revelations they harbored to dominate, which I enjoyed immensely. As a post-apocalyptic kaiju kind of story, it really works well and Curran just has a lot of fun. There’s a lot of extreme gore, but it avoids the excesses of similar “extreme horror” fiction (I think — not sure, because I’m kind of numb to it all), and he handles everything supremely well. The changes he dramatized — embodied by “The Food” — are really described in evocative ways. The book doesn’t belabor the ecological nightmare that the theme implies, and I would have liked much more depth to that, but the characters make up for it and what all this means for Frank and his family relations is all worth musing over. An enjoyable, ORIGINAL book and I recommend it for anyone who is looking for a well-written, action packed, modern-day horror story. And my students, for the most part, would whole-heartedly agree.