I am a big fan of unconventional tales of parenthood. Raising a child evokes such a range of emotions that, as a mother, I often question what the heck is going on. So weird, supernatural tales about children make complete sense to me. And Monstilio, the debut novel by Gerardo Samano Cordova, is an incredible example of the form.

Monstrilio is a beautiful, gruesome tale, told with real tenderness. Magos and Joseph lose their son, Santiago, at age 11. Ravaged by grief, Magos removes a piece of her dead son’s lung, pops it in a jar, and feeds it meat. Unbelievably, the lung grows into the titular Monstrilio, and the family adjust from grief to dealing with a creature who hungers for blood.

Monstrilio is one of the most beautiful books I’ve read this year. It says so much about family (genetic or chosen), grief, suppression of desires, art, and love. The switches between narrators adds a wonderful dimension to the story. The story flowed so well; and the final narrator (no spoilers!) concluded the story in such a fitting way. A devastating, inevitable, but satisfying ending.

Highly recommended for fans of Chouette, by Claire Oshetsky.

Monstrolio is out now! Huge thanks to Zando for the ARC.

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