Christa's Reviews > Luminous Body

Luminous Body by Brooke Warra
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it was amazing

There have been several horror writers over the past few years whom, once I’ve read a single instance of their work, I instantly connected with in terms of their subject matter and style, and subsequently desired to read everything they’d ever written, while simultaneously keeping an eye out for any new work they published.

Brooke Warra is one of those horror writers.

Two years ago, for #WIHm, I wrote a guest post for Kendall Reviews entitled “Ten Short Stories by Women in Horror You Need To Read,” and included Brooke’s contribution to Looming Low Volume I. The anthology was edited by Justin Steele and Sam Cowan, and was nominated for a Shirley Jackson award. I hailed the story for Brooke’s ability to employ the beautiful grotesque in her work, because “the author refuses to shy away from the blunt and biting reality… and recognizes that, while the reader may recoil from the words upon the page, the beauty is in those details that are sometimes uglier than we’d care to contemplate.”

In her recently released chapbook published by Dim Shores, Luminous Body, Brooke has struck that perfect balance again. Grotesquery is on full display in this tale of pregnancy, motherhood, and family through a cosmic body horror lens, but so too are beauty, truth, and love. The novella’s structure is like a living, breathing thing, with Brooke delivering hard-hitting plot points alongside visceral, pulls-no-punches prose, to absolutely devastating effect. In order to keep this review spoiler-free, I will only say that when the protagonist receives her second piece of unexpected news so closely on the heels of the first, and at a time when the reader has already become so enamored of that protagonist (despite it being early in the tale, another testament to Brooke’s prowess as a storyteller), so enmeshed in her life and her choices and her personality, well, that back-to-back hit had me feeling as if I’d just been launched beyond the exosphere, where alien life exists and glittering stars burn against a cerulean and violet backdrop, much like the gorgeous cover art that graces Luminous Body, rendered by Brooke’s own daughter, Zoe Liegh.

My only complaint regarding Luminous Bodies is purely selfish and has nothing at all to do with the pacing or narrative arc of the chapbook: when I reached the novella’s sobering, surreal, entrancing final page, I did not want it to end. But that was kind of the point, right, fellow readers of this novella? We cannot predict the ending, and we do with the time—and people—we have, the very best we can.
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Reading Progress

November 21, 2019 – Shelved
November 21, 2019 – Shelved as: to-read
January 1, 2020 – Started Reading
January 1, 2020 – Finished Reading

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