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The Bone Mother

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  1,078 ratings  ·  222 reviews
Three neighboring villages on the Ukrainian/Romanian border are the final refuge for the last of the mythical creatures of Eastern Europe. Now, on the eve of the war that may eradicate their kind—and with the ruthless Night Police descending upon their sanctuary—they tell their stories and confront their destinies.
Paperback, 240 pages
Published August 15th 2017 by ChiZine Publications (first published July 26th 2017)
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Ian Bain There are some absolutely visceral scenes, but they are used very sparingly. The majority of the book uses dread and creepiness instead of slasher-typ…moreThere are some absolutely visceral scenes, but they are used very sparingly. The majority of the book uses dread and creepiness instead of slasher-type gore.(less)

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Average rating 3.79  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,078 ratings  ·  222 reviews

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Nov 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: horror, 2018-shelf
Re-read 10/6/20:

As good the second time as the first! Definitely creepy and still rather unusual (for me!). Gotta love horrors coming right out of the Old World. :)

Original Review:

Oh, wow! I think I may have found my new favorite horror author!

Well, new for me, anyway. He's been around for many years but mostly as a short story artist. But after meeting him and listening to him speak at a convention, I knew I had to read his work. Sharp mind, deep horror sensibility. :) But even without meeting
Sadie Hartmann
Aug 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book is a must have for lovers of horror-especially if you enjoy folklore (creepy, dark folklore!).
I'm of Bohemian decent, so the Romani influence and language here was a specific treat for me. This book is a "big picture" story as well as many individual stories which are interconnected and help to develop the big picture. But I don't want to reveal too much because most of the fun is discovering a new author's voice/narrative and style and story for yourself.
Some of these stories scared m
J.K. Grice
Oct 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: horror
I eagerly anticipated the release of THE BONE MOTHER for months, and I am happy to say that this book blew me away. So original and so scary, it has everything: myth, magic, horror, history, etc. The antique photos really give an added feeling of realism to this fine collection. Highly recommended.
This one kind of got away from me. I was very engrossed in the first half but then I sort of started to feel like I was waiting for something more.

Some of the stories are fantastically eerie even despite their simplicity, but others were less striking and seemed a bit more like filler. There's not really a solid thread connecting all the stories beyond the ominous "thimble factory" and the different monsters that appear throughout.

I would definitely recommend it still as I think many people in
I can sum this one up in two words: LOVED IT!

Told as a series of short stories, I adored the way THE BONE MOTHER was presented. Each tale was preceded by a photograph and I found that those photos gave a face to the characters in each vignette.

The tales themselves were very dark. They all came together,( mostly), at the end, to tell a story of pure evil. Told from Ukranian/Romanian points of view, these characters named horrors that I admittedly know little about: The Holodomor, for instance. E
Oct 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It is no secret, I love mythology and have read my fair share of non-fiction books as well as fictional tales with mythologies from all over the world. One very fascinating figure, to me, is the Baba Yaga.

Lo and behold, Baba Yaga is also known as the Bone Mother.

We are somewhere along the border of Romania and Ukraine shortly before World War II. The story is about the mysterious Grazyn porcelain factory that produces famous thimbles. So famous, even a Czarina supposedly had one. Their workforce
With each story adding a new voice to the chorus, David Demchuk has built an eerie portrait of an Eastern European village where the myths aren't just myths any more. The stories are frequently unsettling - just as much for their portrait of humanity as for the monsters who live with them side by side - but there was a folklorish feeling to them that was almost comfortable.

Definitely one I'd recommend to any horror fans with the patience to allow a picture to be built brick by brick and story by
Sep 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book was sent from the publisher to the Night Worms reading group in exchange for an honest review.

The Bone Mother is a collection of interconnected Eastern European folktales. Each story has an old photograph before it, in the same fashion as Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children. It often felt as if Demchuk discovered the photographs and then wrote his stories based on the unknown people in the pictures.

These stories are dark, and most of them involve mythological creatures from Uk
Oct 28, 2017 rated it liked it
This was many years ago, back in the first land, when my grandmother was still alive and I was a small child. I would be sent to visit her in the woods, and while she was cooking she would tell me stories of the Bone Mother. The little girl came up to the Bone Mother's house and knocked on the heavy wooden door. It opened all by itself and the little girl, who was very much like you, saw the Bone Mother at her giant wood stove. There she stood, throwing handfuls of vegetables in a big black pot
Chris Berko
Feb 05, 2019 rated it liked it
Some cool individual stories but as a whole unfulfilling. I liked the structure and thought it was an interesting way to present the overall story but there was just not enough "there" there and none of it was scary to me at all. Three stars because it did hold my attention and I flew through it but was left feeling, meh. ...more
Cameron Chaney
Mar 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A big thanks to the author for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review! Full video review to come...

While reading this book at work recently, my boss approached and asked what I was reading. "The Bone Mother," I replied. She then followed up with a question I am asked often, but really stumped me this time around: "What's it about?" That's a good question. How the heck does one begin to describe The Bone Mother by David Demchuk? I guess it is possible to describe a book as unique a
Nate D
Aug 28, 2018 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: things that move at the edge of the woods
Recommended to Nate D by: Marie-Therese
A study in compression, most of the lightly interlinked stories in this collection manage to convey a carefully developed folkloric weird-tale arc in four or five pages with a spare simplicity that probably resulted from a lot of paring and refining of theme and narrative. Honestly, I could have stood for a little less paring and simplicity, as many of these stories were intriguing enough to warrant development. On the other hand, if each was given twice the length, it would bloat and break the ...more
Audra (ouija.reads)
The Bone Mother is a very unique set of interconnected short stories. Each story begins with an old (and often haunting) portrait or illustration and each is told from the first person.

The stories have a dark aura, but often the true depth of the darkness isn't uncovered until the very end. Demchuk certainly has a flair for making the reader feel as though they've missed a step in the dark—feeling that strange plummeting of your stomach, the truth of what you though you knew ripped out from und
Carol Ann
Jul 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
Horror people: read it. It's deliciously scary, creepy and unsettling.
4.5 stars.
I should have saved this book for Halloween. (Right now is a scary time too. This review is being written in New Jersey, USA during our second month of the Covid-19 shutdown.) Like Halloween candy these stories are easy to gobble up. They are short, tasty, and this reader kept saying to herself, "I'll just read ONE more..." I put other books aside to finish this - couldn't help myself.

Most of the stories take place in three neighborhood villages on the Ukranian/Romanian border during the mid 20t
Feb 05, 2019 rated it liked it
Recommended to S̶e̶a̶n̶ by: Bill Hsu
The description of this book is a little misleading, for it implies a more explicit narrative than is actually contained within these pages. Certainly the stories are connected, and I appreciated that, but to call it a novel confuses expectations. There are many ways to define a novel, of course, and I don't subscribe to a specific limited number of them. Many so-called novels that I read would not be considered as such by other readers. But I do think that in certain cases the way a book is mar ...more
Ashley (bookishmommy)
Sep 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Thank you Chizine Publications for providing the Night Worms free copies of The Bone Mother in exchange for honest reviews.

The Bone Mother was very enjoyable! Dark folklore stories set in Eastern European villages? YES PLEASE. These are actually a bunch of little stories that come together to make a bigger story. I chose to read it as a novel and it seemed to work well. Each little story begins with an illustration. What I liked about the illustrations was they set the foundation for the often c
Stephanie (That's What She Read)
Jun 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: lovers of short stories, people who like fables and folkloric stories
Ther was a lot that I liked from this book. It's told in a series of first-person short stories set in a village in Eastern Europe. Each chapter had a black and white picture to introduce the story, which I thought was a great touch. There were some stories that were legitimatley unsettling and gave me goosebumps. I have a soft-spot for folkloric/urban legend type horror, so it worked for me. Happy to see that this was nominated for a Shirley Jackson Award, and I'm looking forward to whatever Mr ...more
Alex | | findingmontauk1
The Bone Mother has been on my shelf for a few months and I picked it up this week to go ahead and read. It's got dark folklore, Ukranian/Romanian creepiness, and an overall vibe that can be a little unsettling. That's what pulled me into the book initially. But now that I am done reading it, I don't feel one way or another. I don't even feel like I read it and I am left a little empty. This review will be slightly different format than others. So here we go.

What I liked:
-I really enjoyed the ov
Sep 04, 2018 rated it liked it
I wasn't entirely sure what I was getting into with The Bone Mother. First I thought it was a novel, then I thought it was a short story collection, but it's really a mixture between the two. It's a book of dark folklore stories set in small Eastern European villages.

Overall, I liked reading this book. I think the concept was fun, and I enjoyed hearing stories about different people's lives. However, I think that this book would have worked better for me if there were fewer & longer stories. Ma
Emily Duncan
Sep 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I finished this last night and then didn't sleep at all. Utterly claustrophobic and delightfully creepy while bordering on flat out horrific. Less a coherent narrative and more a selection of overlaying vignettes that range from the uncomfortable to the disturbing. The Slavic flavor made it all the better. ...more
Rachel (TheShadesofOrange)
Jun 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror
4.0 Stars
Quiet and unsettling, this was a very unique piece of literary horror. While this book was marketed as a novel, it read more like a themed collection of themed short stories. Folklore horror is not my personal flavor, but fans of the subgenre will absolutely love this one.
Oct 29, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This wasn't what I was expecting, but I can't say I was disappointed. I thought it was one cohesive novel, but it's actually a series of interrelated short stories, and let me tell you, some of them are terrifying.

There is a lot of folk lore and actual history in these stories, and I enjoyed them very much. I actually started googling things as I was reading, and was shocked to read that some of these things - like the Holomodor - were actual occurrences that I had never heard about.

The stories
Oct 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing

Amazing book, easily my favorite of the year -- highly recommended, the PERFECT October read. Can't wait to see what David Demchuk comes up with next -- I hope he publishes something new SOON!!
Ian Carpenter
Dec 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
I've never read anything like this. Soaked in a Romanian mysticism with ghosts and witches and an obsessive focus on the body and bones and what goes on inside us and what we inherit from our ancestors - the world is deep and detailed and an absolute pleasure to disappear into. ...more
Christie Owens
Jul 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Well, this is a whole new kind of creepy for me!
Julie Reece
Jan 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Wow. Digesting this one. Review to come.
Steve Stred
Mar 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
** Edited as review is now live on Kendall Reviews! **

‘The Bone Mother’ has been on my radar for a bit, and when it finally arrived on top of my TBR pile – guess what?! – controversy around the publisher erupts. I let some time pass after reaching out to David to read this, wanting to let the review breathe and be as untainted from that as possible. I’m hoping this book finds a home so that more folks can enjoy it!

KR: The Bone Mother has indeed found a new home with Proving Ground Press and will
Nov 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
If we had taken time to sit at our grandmother's feet or listened to the old men around the fire, these are the stories we might have heard. They are most certainly the stories that come from those events after being handed down through a couple of generations. Oppressed people don't tell tales of blithe fairies tripping through emerald forests, instead they tell of the monsters who hold them captive and devour them piece by piece. This is a collection of those stories along with photos that wil ...more
Kirsten B
Nov 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Great Halloween read, if you enjoy scary stuff. It’s not really a novel so much as a series of interconnected stories that build on each other. Explores the dark side of humanity in a truly revolting way, and the monsters are almost a sideshow in comparison. I️ don’t usually find horror to be scary or even readable, but this definitely has an unsettling effect.
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