Review: Joanna Koch | The Wingspan of Severed Hands

Shock and awe. Beautiful and grotesque. These are just a few of the words I could use to describe Joanna Koch’s The Wingspan of Severed Hands.

The story takes the insidious concept of the yellow sign from Robert W. Chamber’s mythos he created for his short story collection The King in Yellow. The author uses such vivid imagery and lyrical prose to describe the most depraved and macabre scenes. I’m really into Koch’s writing style, and I learned several beautiful new words (fascia, instar, puerile) to add to my vocabulary.

It seems almost unnecessary to summarize the plot here, as the synopsis from the back of the book does that fine justice. What cannot be synopsized is the feeling and atmosphere created by the wordcraft employed here. There’s really not enough I can say about the fucking poetry in Wingspan. Please do yourself a goddamn favor and pick up this book. If you’re a fan of Robert W. Chambers, cosmic horror, body horror not unlike what you might find in the Saw franchise (but even saying that feels like a real disservice to the author—their prose is so much more amazing than any of the writing in any of those movies, but I couldn’t think of anything better to describe some of the more visceral scenes in the book, and goddamn it’s good), and just quality weird fiction, readdddd it. Now. It’s unlike anything else you’ll ever read. Also look at that cover art!

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