Audra (ouija.doodle.reads)'s Reviews > Hexis

Hexis by Charlene Elsby
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really liked it
bookshelves: horror, ladies-of-horror

Though this is a slim book at 138 pages, don’t let its size fool you. There is much more than meets the eye between these pages. The explanation of the title, a philosophical term, is an epigraph to the book, and the definition itself is obfuscating, serving as a warning of what the reader is about to get themselves into.

This book is not an easy read, nor was it meant to be. It doesn’t follow a typical narrative and in fact, I wouldn’t call it a narrative story at all. But if you are interested to dig into each chapter, it is well worth the effort.

In short, it is the story of a woman who kills a man again and again, each effort, though deliberate and extravagantly detailed, ends up being in vain.

Though that is the content, I saw the book, not as a narrative about a murderous woman but rather as a metaphorical tale about power and expected gender roles. Hexis stems from “having,” and this idea of possession is at the forefront of the book. The woman is desired by the man she detests, and it is not so much that she detests him as she does not want to be possessed. They are caught in a constant struggle between “the haver and the had,” and as Aristotle notes, “the process will go on to infinity, if we can have the having of what we have.” It turns the brain around a bit, no?

The unnamed woman knows where her power lies, or at least the only power she thinks she has access to—her sex. She manipulates the men around her to accomplish her grim task and though she succeeds, she also fails because the story comes back around and puts her on the bottom again every time. I wondered what the outcome might be if she broke away from that societally created power structure and took a different angle.

This book goes to some dark places and was uncomfortably descriptive on more than one occasion. But that is the joy of good horror—it gives us something to shy away from while at the same time we confront it. Again and again. A hexis type of struggle.

This book definitely is not for everyone, but I do enjoy a book that wrestles with my understanding, even if there isn’t truly a narrative.

Another brilliant cover by Matthew Revert. My thanks to Clash Books for my copy of this one to read and review for the Ladies of Horror Fiction team.
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
February 15, 2020 – Finished Reading
February 17, 2020 – Shelved
February 17, 2020 – Shelved as: horror
February 17, 2020 – Shelved as: ladies-of-horror

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