In Tasmania’s Oatlands, teenager Sally Hunter is becoming painfully aware of her new body and blossoming sexuality. But this is not an everyday tale of adolescence: Sally’s form and world is stretched and changed by her transformation into a werewolf, something unexpected, beautiful and bloody. The antithesis of Twilight’s sparkles and whimsy, Anna Dusk’s visceral writing style captures the reader like no other, with all the gore and brutality of death and murder coming to light as Sally unleashes her new self on the town.
Both poetic and gritty, the characters’ laconic speech and the way time and reality are twisted with Sally’s new outlook come together and bring you immediately into her life. In her dysfunctional family, her mother is drinking herself blind to Sally’s changes. Her friends are saturated with desire, and some are possibly hiding secrets of their own. Dusk’s talent for immediacy vividly portrays Sally’s initial confusion and sickness, and later, the eventual acceptance and love she has for her new form. Visually striking and undeniably confronting, In-human is an incredible read.
Fiona Hardy Readings Newsletter April 2010
Welcome to Oatlands, Tasmania, home of the femme-werewolf apocalypse. Sixteen-year-old Sally Hunter is seriously pissed off and she’s turning into a powerful ‘monster dog’, a werewolf with one hell of an appetite for flesh — human or animal and a growing sexual appetite to match. A lot of people are disappearing, gruesomely murdered or eaten but who is responsible for all the carnage?
In what frequently reads like prose poetry, Dusk imagines herself right through every aspect of the anguish of ‘transformation’ and beyond, tackling a number of taboos as she goes — menstruation, sexually violent women, cannibalism, nihilism — to name a few. Her paintings, featured in the book’s cover artwork, also depict a disturbing, confronting story of the awakening of what lies within. She’s been inside the guts and psyche of ‘the beast’ and portrays its heightened sensory perceptions, its lust for the kill, its pain, its joys, its dreams.
There are moments of distilled beauty and home truths here but this is no simplistic, pretty coming of age story. Horror fans accustomed to dark humour and unrelenting rampages of gore should enjoy but the squeamish, those offended by details of bodily functions, graphic violence, sex or obscenities probably won’t. *** (three stars – a good book as per Bookseller+Publisher ratings system)
Paula Grunseit 2010 This review from Bookseller+Publisher magazine (March 2010, Vol 89, No 6)
‘For another look at female werewolves, Anna Dusk’s In-human is mindblowing. Great gutsy female heroine, but also a lyrical style and all set in Tasmania.’
‘Sally Hunter is not a hero here to save us all, In-human isn’t plastic American entertainment made to dull the masses’
Catch the full in-depth review by the people who know their horror writing at http://www.scaryminds.com/reviews/2010/book61.php
Sally Hunter is a young teenager growing up in a small country town in Tasmania where everyone knows everyone else’s business. She is part of a dysfunctional family that is being raised by a single mother. Her father is dead, and she has 2 brothers. She seems to be at odds with everyone from the start, feeling physically and mentally different from others. This starts to manifest itself in feelings of illness and heightened sensual perception.
This is a rite of passage story with a big difference. Not only is she struggling with teenage angst, but also the growing awareness that she is turning into a werewolf.
The story, told through Sally’s eyes, becomes increasingly disturbing as the beast within her emerges and she embraces her true nature. Written in a powerful style that ranges from exhilarating flights of the almost interdimensional joy she feels in her animal body, to confronting descriptions of her compulsion towards killing and eating, to the physical aftermath that has on the human part of her existence.
As people start being murdered in the town, the realistically observed characters that inhabit it collide head on with horror in the way of all good stories of this genre. This is a gore fest, with plenty of hot, teenage, animal sex going on to lure potential victims. Soon other questions are raised. Is Sally the only killer, or are there others like her? What will happen when her family confront what they already suspect?
This is not a story about evil, but about difference, and how we embrace our true nature, our faults and the beast within all of us. Sally and all her friends speak in the spare, expletive-based, Aussie teenage slang we are all familiar with, and it reinforces how savage teenagers can be to those around them, even when they are not turning into werewolves!
This is definitely a book for older teens and adults. There are a lot of sex, violence and drug references. It is, however, well written and very creatively crafted. A cracking good read that builds to an exciting climax, apparently there is a sequel coming up. I’ll be looking out for that.
Bernadette Gooden, Matilda, 20 September 2010 www.middlemiss.org