Elsewhere by Alexis Schaitkin reminds me of old-school Atwood.
Vera has spent her entire life in a small mountainous cloud-covered community cut off from the rest of the world, or elsewhere as they call it. She and the other girls eagerly anticipate their futures as wives and mothers.
Although motherhood isn’t a straightforward thing in this town. Mothers regularly and mysteriously disappear, leaving no trace behind. Those that remain are never entirely sure what caused a mother to vanish, but they speculate on this “affliction.” Perhaps that mother coddled her child too heavily, that one, not enough.
Newcomers are not a regular occurrence in this small town, so when a stranger like Ruth shows up, it sets everyone into an excited tizzy.
I think it’s best not to know much more than that.
Review of Elsewhere by Alexis Schaitkin
This short, speculative, character-driven novel solely follows Vera’s POV. The writing is sparse but impactful. It captured my attention right away. When I was reading it, I was savouring every word, but oddly, when I had to put it down, I had to force myself to pick it back up. Maybe I didn’t want it to end. It is definitely one I’ll be thinking of for years to come.
There are themes on motherhood, identity, and community.
Fortunately, I have zero critiques about this novel, except that I wish the author explained the affliction in more detail.
I haven’t read the author’s debut yet, which I need to correct ASAP.
So, I’d recommend this if you enjoy slowish, character-driven books with Margaret Atwood vibes.
My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5
Expected Publication: 28 June 2022
Thank you to Celadon Books for providing me with a physical arc in exchange for an honest review.
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