Woman, Eating By Claire Kohda

Publisher: Virago

Publication Date: 21st March 2022

When I heard this book had a woman in it who only ate pigs blood I knew it was a book for me. I’ve been really enjoying books about women who are ‘other’ (The Harpy, Nightbitch, Come Closer) and I had good vibes. However when it arrived and I realised it was about a vampire I was dubious. I’ve never been a fan of the vampire trope so I was a little unsure (and kicking myself that I hadn’t made the link between blood/vampire!). However, I gave it a whirl and absolutely loved it! I’m now a modern vampire fan! Who knew?

Lydia is a young woman in her early twenties. She has a Japanese father and a half Malaysian (and half vampire!) mother. Lydia’s mother turned her into a vampire a few days after she was born. The story opens at a point in Lydia’s life where she has just put her mother in a home and she has rented a studio as she is a performance artist. She has also taken an internship at a local art gallery.

But Lydia is hungry. Hungry for blood. Her and her mother have always fought their demon side and never partaken in ‘hunting’ human blood. They have always sourced pigs blood from their local butchers, no questions asked. But when the butchers closes, Lydia finds herself trying to source the pig blood from elsewhere whilst trying not to succumb to human hunting, which proves more and more difficult…..

Food, hunger and appetite are large themes in this book along with how food can connect us to our culture. There is a lot of talk about rumbling stomachs, and almost obsessive intake of social media surrounding food, for example YouTube ‘what I eat in day’ videos that Lydia likes to torture herself by watching.

I really enjoyed the half human/half demon aspect of Lydia’s character. She explains that her and her mother ate just enough to keep their human side alive and not enough to continually feed their demon side, the side which constantly had the urge to ‘sin’. They were not out hunting humans, instead they were assuaging their urges with the pigs blood. Doing their bit for society!

The book also explores the themes of connection, identity and loneliness in a fresh and clever way. There are quite a few ‘millennial struggling young women’ books out at the moment but this one is a new and interesting take which I absolutely devoured! (No pun intended!).

A brilliant debut that I would thoroughly recommend. Thank you to Celeste and Virago for my review copy.

See you all soon.

Amanda xx

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