Title: Comfort Me With Apples
Author: Catherynne M. Valente
Genre: Fantasy Novella
Number of Pages: 103
In high-scaled gated community Arcadia Gardens, everything is perfect(ly dystopian.) Sophia is the gorgeous, fragile wife of an unnamed man and she lives to do his bidding. However, when this blissful Stepford wife finds a strange hair on a brush in a drawer she definitely shouldn’t have opened, the facade that is her existence begins to crack open.
I’ve seen a lot of mixed reviews for this novella, but I enjoyed its bleak combination of social commentary and surrealism. It’s fairy tale-like imagery was especially striking, with Sophia doll-like and peculiarly dwarfed by her imposing husband and a beautiful and sparkling clean home filled with literal body parts, teeth and jawbones in the attic or hidden in the walls.
The mystery of what is going on with Sophia’s husband and the horrible secrets this community is hiding kept my attention and while it might have started to drag if it had been a full-length novel, I thought it was a perfect length. The character development is minimal, but it is good for what it is: a long short story with a creepy atmosphere and cinematic sense of urgency throughout its brief duration.