Book Review: One Hand to Hold, One Hand to Carve by M. Shaw

What an exquisitely strange type of horror.

Shaw has created something delightfully strange and haunting with this novella – as it starts off with two halves of a corpse waking up together in a morgue. They don’t know why or how, or what has happened to them – all they know is that they’ve only got each other to figure it out.

It’s a weird start to a story by any measure, but I got more intrigued by every turn of the page as the brothers, as they coin themselves, try to figure out what’s what. Shaw uses a delicate and nuanced language, poetic and lyrical at times in a way that serves to elevate the novellas mystique.

I loved that the book would take us from utterly unbelievable and supernatural events in one moment to mundane activities without anything in between. The two half-brothers (pun very much intended) would be hopping around on one leg each wondering how they’re alive, then taking the bus to work because even half-people need to earn money. What the h*** is going on, Shaw?!

It gets stranger and builds and builds until the very end, and you’re not going to be able to put this down. I had to take some extended lunch break at work because I was reading this. If there was anything I’d want to be different, it might just be that I’d want the ending to give me a little bit more, to reveal a little extra. But that’s just me being demanding.

This novella is published by Tenebrous Press, an independent publisher who has made it their mission to publish delightfully strange and horrifying things. I’ve read an anthology they published a while back and it’s just as brilliant as this.

If you like stories that are different with a capital D and you like weird, strange things that make you wonder what’s what, then this book is definitely for you.

What have you been reading lately? Anything weird? Let me know in the comments!

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