book reviews, crafts, cheap things…

Book Review: Venous Hum by Suzette Mayr

Venous hum

I kept thinking about Monoceros by Suzette Mayr for weeks after I read it. My review really doesn’t do it much justice, but I guess my reviews sometimes don’t when I’m kind of floored by something. Oh well. I guess I can reiterate now: Monoceros is bizarre and interesting and poignant and well-written, and I recommend it for people who like these things.

So anyway, after realizing that I was still hung up on Monoceros, I searched my library’s catalog for more books by Mayr.

There was nothing.

I searched Link+ (a consortium of West coast public and academic libraries that facilitates the sharing of materials between systems).


I stepped things up and took my hunt to InterLibrary Loan.


(PSA: if your library doesn’t have a book that you want, ask the librarian if there are any other ways to get it.)

Venous Hum was amongst those results. After a two-week wait that felt like it took forever, I pretty much devoured (plot pun intended) the book as soon as it came in. A venous hum, according to the internet, is a typically benign occurrence where a person can basically feel and hear their own heart beating and blood flowing. You can hear an example here.

It’s difficult to explain the plot– In the present day we are supplied with a chunk of time in the lives of a woman, her wife, best friend, best friend’s husband, mother, sister, father, baby, fetus, high school reunion, and affair. In the past we are shown all of the same characters, but with the addition of the woman’s teachers and classmates. Add in past Canadian politics, racism and race politics, the supernatural, and some light human eating– and you get closer to what’s going on.

An usual element to Venous Hum (and Monoceros, too) is that they both (might) fuck with metaphor. Supernatural stuff goes on and it might be a metaphor– and it might not– but it’s presented literally. There were multiple points in Venous Hum where I had to say aloud WHAT THE FUCK; Mayr does this well. But the WTF moments are simultaneously well-balanced with the really familiar human moments, so really, you still find the story believable.

Find a copy at the library, or ask a librarian to find it for you. We want your questions.


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