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Woman, Eating

On sale

29th September 2022

Price: £21.99

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Selected: Audiobook Downloadable / ISBN-13: 9781405556613

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A Best Book of the Year in HARPER’S BAZAAR, BBC, THE NEW YORKER, GLAMOUR, GAL-DEM and HUFFPOST



‘Witty and thought-provoking’ Stylist
‘Blistering’ Glamour
‘Unusual, original and strikingly contemporary’ Guardian
‘Absolutely brilliant’ Ruth Ozeki
‘A gripping contemporary fable about embracing difference’ The Times
‘A wholly 21st century take on bloodsucking’ Observer

Lydia is hungry. She’s always wanted to try sashimi and ramen, onigiri and udon – the food her Japanese father liked to eat – but the only thing she can digest is blood. Yet Lydia can’t bring herself to prey on humans, and sourcing fresh pigs’ blood in London – where she is living away from her Malaysian-British mother for the first time and trying to build a career as an artist – is much more difficult than she’d anticipated.
If Lydia is to find a way to exist in the world, she must reconcile the conflicts within her – between her demon and human sides, her mixed ethnic heritage and her relationship with food, and, in turn, humans. Before any of this, however, she must eat.


‘It’s Kohda’s exploration of Lydia’s inner world, the pain and longing she feels as an outsider, that makes Woman, Eating such a delicious novel’ New York Times Book Review

‘A profound meditation on alienation and appetite, and what it means to be a young woman who experiences life at an acute level of intensity and awareness’ LISA HARDING

‘What Stoker did for the vampire at the end of the nineteenth century, Claire Kohda does for for it in our own era’ TLS

Reviews

New Yorker
The chief trait that Lydia, the protagonist of this artful vampire novel, shares with monsters of old is hunger . . . As Lydia encounters new people, including a pleasant artist turned property manager, and a new boss, a man with more influence than decency, she comes to understand what it is to become something 'that is neither demon nor human'
Glamour UK
Blistering . . . Tells us a lot about the ways we're all searching for belonging
Waterstones
Woman, Eating puts a deliciously fresh spin on a vampire narrative, while mining serious themes of race, misogyny and body image with pitch-perfect subtlety
Publishers Weekly
A delicious debut
New York Times
We've seen sexy vampires, scary vampires and psychic vampires, but never one quite like the one in this ambitious debut. Lydia is a twenty-three-year-old, mixed-race artist whose appetite can only be sated with a tall serving of blood. With wit and a poet's eye, Kohda examines cravings, desire and emptiness
Observer
A surefooted, art-filled and wholly 21st-century take on bloodsucking
Stylist
Witty and thought-provoking
The Times
A playful debut that pumps fresh blood into the horror genre . . . [It] playfully revitalises a tired tradition, riffing on its clichés while delivering a gripping contemporary fable about embracing difference and satisfying hunger
Book Riot
The way food wends its way throughout this piece is such a fascinating way to explore hunger, various appetites, and even identity. I regret to inform you that this one's not out until the spring, but I believe it's well worth the preorder
Lisa Harding, author of Bright Burning Things
Unsettling, sensual, subversive, Woman, Eating turns the vampire trope on its head with its startlingly original female protagonist, caught between two worlds. It is a profound meditation on alienation and appetite, and what it means to be a young woman who experiences life at an acute level of intensity and awareness. Claire Kohda's prose is biting, yet lush and gorgeous. I was uncomfortably smitten
Times Literary Supplement
What Stoker did for the vampire at the end of the nineteenth century, Claire Kohda does for it in our own era
Sunday Times
Meaningful and illuminating.... The vampire novel has been done many ways, but Woman, Eating, Claire Kohda's intelligent and irreverent take, makes for an enjoyable read
Library Journal (starred)
A delicate, consistently surprising riff on the vampire narrative, and a stealthy, subversive story of one young woman's declaration of self
Glamour US
A vampire book that will scrub any trace of Twilight from your mind - Claire Kohda's debut follows a young vampire dealing with all kinds of hunger: for acceptance, for artistic success, and for sushi
Kirkus Reviews
Kohda makes clever use of her premise to explore weighty topics-including cultural alienation, disordered eating, emotional abuse, sexual assault, the stressors of navigating adulthood, and caring for an aging parent-with sensitivity. Lydia's achingly vulnerable first-person narration gains momentum as she achieves self-acceptance-and, ultimately, self-empowerment. Subversive and gratifying
Ruth Ozeki
Absolutely brilliant - tragic, funny, eccentric and so perfectly suited to this particularly weird time. Claire Kohda takes the vampire trope and makes it her own in a way that feels fresh and original. Serious issues of race, disability, misogyny, body image, sexual abuse are handled with subtlety, insight, and a lightness of touch. The spell this novel casts is so complete I feel utterly, and happily, bitten
BBC
A modern day vampire thriller that also covers race, social isolation, unrequited love and parental loyalty . . . Lydia battles not only her vampire hunger but also to find her place in the world
Guardian
The most unusual, original and strikingly contemporary vampire novel to come along in years
TIME
Lydia sees herself not as a coherent being but as a body where human and demon uneasily cohabit. Bloodthirst aside, this is a pretty effective encapsulation of what it means to be a person with free will. Unless we behave so atrociously as to destroy any chance of redemption, each of us is the site of a war between good and evil that will rage on for as long as we live - and that might remain unresolved by any legacy we leave. I mean, how bloody relatable is that?
Arts Fuse
In this enjoyable debut novel, Kohda presents Lydia's thirst for blood as a tidy metaphor for more common cravings. The protagonist's discomfort with her condition comes across as quite realistic in what is essentially a coming-of-age novel. The author is particularly deft at illustrating how unacknowledged desire will out, undermining our best intentions
New York Times Book Review
One of the most original vampire novels in ages, Claire Kohda's Woman, Eating follows Lydia, a British, Japanese and Malaysian vampire struggling to survive . . . Kohda has given Lydia a host of great vampire qualities, such as excellent night vision and an ability to experience the entire life of a creature by drinking its blood. But it's Kohda's exploration of Lydia's inner world, the pain and longing she feels as an outsider, that makes Woman, Eating such a delicious novel
Skinny
Woman, Eating is a long-overdue recalibration of the genre: a brilliant, subversive inquiry into the very politics of desire and denial, and a twisted testament to the depths of female appetite
Tor.com
Woman, Eating deals a lot with food, hunger, and Lydia's relationship to her body. But this novel also deals with spiritual nourishment, art, womanhood, shame, and identity . . . Kohda's prose will take you on a deep emotional journey. Trust me, this is not your average vampire story - it is a novel that displays the incredible breadth of what speculative fiction can show us about the human condition
Booklist
Kohda has created a provocative, sympathetic and satisfying dive into the mind of an unusual young woman at a crossroads