Monday 22 February 2021

Hench by Natalie Zina Walschots

Today I finished a very enjoyable, fun book by Hench by Natalie Zina Walshots. 

Anna does boring things for terrible people because even criminals need office help and she needs a job. Working for a monster lurking beneath the surface of the world isn’t glamorous. But is it really worse than working for an oil conglomerate or an insurance company? In this economy? As a temp, she’s just a cog in the machine. But when she finally gets a promising assignment, everything goes very wrong, and an encounter with the so-called “hero” leaves her badly injured. And, to her horror, compared to the other bodies strewn about, she’s the lucky one. 

So, of course, then she gets laid off. With no money and no mobility, with only her anger and internet research acumen, she discovers her suffering at the hands of a hero is far from unique. When people start listening to the story that her data tells, she realizes she might not be as powerless as she thinks

Wow! What an imaginative story. While Hench could have been told as a graphic novel, it would have missed all the intensity and inner feelings of Anna.

The story is fast moving, deeper and more emotional than I thought it would be and one hell of a great ride. Hench is a contender in this years Canada Reads on CBC and will be represented by Paul Sun-Hyung Lee of Kim's Convenience fame. 

I think it should win.

Natalie Zina Walschots is a freelance writer, community manager and bailed academic based in Toronto. She writes everything from reviews of science fiction novels and interviews with heavy metal musicians to to in-depth feminist games criticism and pieces of long-form journalism. She is the author of two books of poetry. In her free time she has been exploring the poetic potential of the notes engine in the video game Bloodborne, writing a collection of polyamorous fairytales, developing interactive narrative classes and composing short text-based body horror games. She also plays a lot of D&D, participates in a lot of Nordic LARPs, watches a lot of horror movies and reads a lot of speculative fiction.

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