Review: Rupert Wong, Cannibal Chef

Rupert Wong, Cannibal Chef
Rupert Wong, Cannibal Chef by Cassandra Khaw
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is glorious. For something so short it certainly crams in a lot of ingredients: gods, monsters, down-at-heel ex-mob chefs, gluttons, gourmands, angry ghosts, colonialism, assimilation, ancient vs modern, a bustling cityscape both bright & wild and grimy-drab…

It’s got everything and all of it is mixed to perfection to produce a noirish yet numinous tale of one strangely compelling not-exactly-hero caught in the midst of a grand parade of terrifying grotesques.

Cassandra Khaw brings incredible depth to her world; a turn of phrase or well crafted image hinting at onion skin layers of history and politics and meaning and mystery, all waiting to be revealed beneath every place and every action. Despite the supernatural subject matter, this reads always as a story of real place, and real (strange) people.

Rupert Wong, Cannibal Chef rattles along in fast and thrilling style and manages to skip from visceral horror to easy violence to genuine heart-breaker pathos whilst never missing a step or leaving you behind. Highly recommended.

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