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Woman, Eating: 'Absolutely brilliant - Kohda takes the vampire trope and makes it her own' Ruth Ozeki

Claire Kohda

6 Reviews

Rated 0

Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)

A stunning, literary twist on the vampire novel that covers race, social isolation, unrequited love and the struggle to care for ageing parents: 'Absolutely brilliant - tragic, funny, eccentric . . . Claire Kohda takes the vampire trope and makes it her own' Ruth Ozeki, Booker-shortlisted author of A Tale for the Time Being

'Absolutely brilliant - tragic, funny, eccentric . . . Claire Kohda takes the vampire trope and makes it her own' Ruth Ozeki, Booker-shortlisted author of A Tale for the Time Being

Lydia is hungry. She's always wanted to try sashimi, ramen, onigiri with sour plum stuffed inside - the food her Japanese father liked to eat. And then there is bubble tea and the vegetables grown by the other young artists at the London studio space she is secretly squatting in. But Lydia can't eat any of this. The only thing she can digest is blood, and it turns out that sourcing fresh pigs' blood in London - where she is living away from her vampire mother for the first time - is much more difficult than she'd anticipated.

Then there are the humans: the people at the gallery she interns at, the strange men who follow her after dark, and Ben, a goofy-grinned artist she is developing feelings for. Lydia knows that they are her natural prey, but she can't bring herself to feed on them.

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.

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Praise for Woman, Eating: 'Absolutely brilliant - Kohda takes the vampire trope and makes it her own' 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

  • - Ruth Ozeki (2021)

  • 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 - Lisa Harding, author of BRIGHT BURNING THINGS (2022)

  • 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 - BBC

  • 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 - Glamour US, Best Books for 2022

  • Blistering ... Tells us a lot about the ways we're all searching for belonging - Glamour UK

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Claire Kohda

Claire Kohda is a writer and musician. She reviews books for publications including the Guardian and the TLS, specialising in books from and about East Asia. As a violinist, she has played with musicians and ensembles including Jessie Ware, RY X, Pete Tong, the London Contemporary Orchestra and The English Chamber Orchestra, and on various film soundtracks.

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