Jeffrey Walker's Reviews > Give in to the Feeling

Give in to the Feeling by Sarah Zama
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really liked it

Sarah Zama writes a fascinating (self-described) diesel punk novella set entirely in a '20s Chicago speakeasy and the rooms above and below. The story focuses on a Chinese immigrant chorus girl and taxi dancer, Su Xie, known in America as Susie. The author weaves a curiously compelling narrative of human trafficking, control and compulsion, touched with tantalizingly ambiguous elements of fantasy that swirl around the two men competing for her love and loyalty, Blood (a refreshing new take on the stock Mysterious Stranger character) and Ma Shu (a creepily controlling and demonic pimp-protector).

I'm not generally much of a fan of straight-up fantasy writing, but the author here holds her fantasy cards very close to her vest and plays them with restraint and subtlety. I love a plot line that leaves the reader some way to rationalize odd twists and turns as maybe just possible but still makes you say, "Hmmm..."

Ms Zama writes in English but she's not a native speaker, which at first put me off. However, she seems wonderfully aware of this erstwhile problem and turns it on its head to enhance the sense of otherness felt by Susie as a stranger in a strange land, just as the author herself is a stranger working in a strange language. It just works for me, which signals a significant amount of self-awareness by the author.

"Give In To The Feeling" is a ripping good read and I for one look forward to what this young author presents to us next.
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Reading Progress

March 23, 2017 – Shelved
March 23, 2017 – Shelved as: to-read
Started Reading
April 21, 2017 – Finished Reading

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