For this week's Short Story Sunday, we return to Great Jones Street, and the first story I ever read on the app - "Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers", by Alyssa Wong.
Jenny is part of a race that devours the thoughts of others - the blacker the thought, the better the taste. Jenny stalks the sleazy pickup-artists of her city, until, one evening, she encounters a serial killer. In another story, this would be enough plot to create something amazing. But Wong goes even further with the concept. As Jenny chases the high of the best meal she's ever had, she ends up in deeper - and further over her head - than she could ever have imagined.
This story won the Nebula Award for Best Short Story in 2015, and with very good reason. Not only is Wong dealing with a really unique take on a monster, this story has SO MUCH going on. The idea of soul-food is taken to a literal extreme ("...learning to cook with the array of salts and spices infused with ugly dreams, drinking wine distilled from deathbed confessions...") - which leads to moments of food-as-flirtation, food-as-heritage, food-as-addiction - and not only that, we have Jenny's conflicted feelings about Aiko, the literal girl-next-door who is both her rock and, because of her innocence being such a contrast to Jenny's usual diet, her biggest temptation...It's an incredibly complex, multi-layered short story, and it's gorgeously written. I've read it three times now, and found new thinking points every time. Wong creates a world I would love to visit again. But, for now, you can enjoy this brilliantly dark, sensual little tale from a really great writer. You can find "Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers" for free on the Great Jones Street app for free, or here on the Nightmare Magazine website, where it was originally published.
And that's it for this week! I will be back during the week for another blog post, and another Short Story Sunday next week. If you have a story you'd like me to review, please let me know below, or on Twitter!
Musings on my life as a writer.