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EARWIG by B. Catling
Surreal gothic horror doesn’t come much weirder than Brian Catling’s Earwig. Just google the title and you’ll find deeply disturbing images from the film he made of it. Trust me, the book is worse. It’s like Bulgakov and Pasolini had a love child, then raised it on a steady diet of insects, David Lynch series and John Carpenter movies.
When we first meet him, Earwig is holed up in a dark flat in Liège, having answered an ad to look after a young girl. The two share a disturbingly interdependent relationship, which often finds him fussing over her missing teeth with ever more intrusive contraptions. One night, he heads out to a bar where he meets Tyre, a malevolent phantasm who drives Earwig to accidentally maim the waitress. Earwig flees to the flat and resumes his duties until a kitten appears at the door and upends his life.
While nothing that follows comes as a great surprise, the subtly clinical vivisection of Earwig’s sanity makes for a delectable freakshow. Brimming with unhinged takes on classic horror tropes, Earwig is great fun. That is, if you can stomach it.
Earwig by B. Catling