Fifty Beasts to Break Your Heart and Other Stories by GennaRose Nethercott: Thoughtful and Provocative

The stories in Fifty Beasts to Break Your Heart are about the abomination that resides within us all. That churning, clawing, ravenous yearning: the hunger to be held, and seen, and known. And the terror, too: to be loved too well, or not enough, or for long enough. To be laid bare before your sweetheart, to their horror. To be recognized as the monstrous thing you are.

Two teenage girls working at a sinister roadside attraction called the Eternal Staircase explore its secrets—and their own doomed summer love. A zombie rooster plays detective in a missing persons case. A woman moves into a new house with her acclaimed artist boyfriend—and finds her body slowly shifting into something specially constructed to accommodate his needs and whims. A pack of middle schoolers turn to the occult to rid themselves of a hated new classmate. And a pair of outcasts, a vampire and a goat woman, find solace in each other, even as the world’s lack of understanding might bring about its own end.

In these lush, strange, beautifully written stories, GennaRose Nethercott explores human longing in all its diamond-dark facets to create a collection that will redefine what you see as a beast, and make you beg to have your heart broken.

This short story collection, “Fifty Beasts to Break Your Heart and Other Stories by GennaRose Nethercott is thoughtful and provocative, the beauty and darkness of the stories will wind their way around your heart and make you long for heartbreaking love. 

All of the stories within the collection explore love in various permutations. Most delve into the darker aspects of love although there is one, The Thread Boy, that beautifully explores the connections that we make in life and how we would be lost without them. In some of the stories, it explores the monstrous and the power of the female voice. Dear Henrietta has a chilling pace, dark yet intriguing. And the Bestiary is a story that is told within little snippets, a unique way to create a narrative. But in each story what compelled me to read more was the way love and relationships, both positive and toxic, were depicted and shared. It was a lush and fantastic ride. 

If you like short story collections, you might try this one. It has an unusual format in many of the tales. Plus if you don’t have time to read a full book, the short stories herein can be read one at a time and savored, like the jewels they are. Each is exquisitely crafted with complex characters and emotional stories. I loved every thoughtful and contemplative story within this collection and I think you will too. 

Rating: 5 out of 5 beasts

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