(Other reviews: Publisher’s Weekly)
Valente is a prolific author with a variety of genres under her belt. She tends to write of the fantastic as well as the unreal. Her work is hard to categorize which puts her in a league all of her own.
Comfort Me With Apples, billed a thriller, isn’t. Not really. It’s a retelling of a creation myth with a twist. A big turn of a twist but the reader is too lulled by Valente’s deft words in this slim volume. It reminded me quite a bit of Speak Easy, another slim volume by Valente that came out in 2015.
(INTERESTINGLY, Speak Easy is not listed on her site nor is it often listed when her bibliography is reproduced in magazine articles.)
Two different topics, yes, but the writing is very similar: it breathes as you read, a pulse that is sometimes hard to put your finger on but you know it’s there. Much like the two hearts of The Doctor. But unlike Speak Easy, review here, Comfort Me With Apples is much more cohesive. Valente has grown as a writer, which seems impossible because she’s always been fantastically good at her job, but her work is stronger here in words and plot.
This could read that I’m being superfluous, but I’m not, not really. That’s how Valente reviews work: you praise her writing, marvel at her imagination, and ponder how many muses she must kill to write this well. I’m kidding. Sort of.
Let’s cut to the chase: Why should you read Comfort Me With Apples? Because it will be an underrated book that is both thoughtful and thought provoking. It will present a topic we rarely think about with a new perspective. It will have you thinking long into the night to not open up locked vanity drawers if you’re not ready for the truth. It’s clever and a quick read. A perfect cleanser no matter what you just read. A baby thriller that shows that one day Valente is going to let loose; really loose, and it will be a joy to behold.